Mike Pence is reportedly Donald Trump’s pick as veep. It is, I believe, a reach out to pro-lifers. Surely, Pence has a very strong pro-life record.
But his spineless collapse in the face of a media firestorm over religious liberty should give pause to all conservatives.
The Weekly Standard refreshes our memory:
Recall that last year, Indiana passed a state religious freedom restoration act (RFRA), which was the state version of existing federal legislation that passed Congress and was signed into President Bill Clinton with overwhelming bipartisan support. (John McCormack has an explainer of the legislation here.) Though the Indiana law is not in conflict with other LGBT protections, it was decried as an act of bigotry. Journalists started fishing for villains, settling on the religious owners of an Indiana pizza parlor who said they would not (hypothetically) want to cater a gay wedding. Companies such as Apple and Ebay, which have no problem doing business in bastions of enlightened attitudes on gays as Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, threatened to boycott Indiana. (Curiously, they have not also threatened to boycott the existing 21 states with RFRAs.)
Once it became clear that Pence was going to have to make a stand on religious freedom, he folded. Indiana’s religious freedom law was gutted at Pence’s direction within a week of it being passed.
Shortly afterward, Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas shepherded a RFRA through the state legislature, and, despite some national criticism, did so with minimum fuss. And in North Carolina, when state legislators passed a law codifying single-sex bathrooms for public buildings in the state, Governor Pat McCrory managed to ride out the first few brutal national news cycles and is holding fast even as Obama has directed the full weight of the federal government to come down on him.
One of the paramount issues in this election is religious liberty. If Pence is elected, it’ll be nice to know that when it comes to the threat of the media or siding for people’s actual constitutional rights, he’ll make the wrong choice.
Just something to take into account folks.