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Religious Liberty Defeated in Arizona

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Jan Brewer, the governor of Arizona, vetoed religious freedom -- and, naturally, Democrats and their media allies are cheering. Even some Republicans are praising Arizona.  Meanwhile, our Founding Fathers more than likely are spinning in their graves at about 400 rpm.  In fact, folks, if you read Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims (authored by me), you might even come to learn how important religious freedom has been to this country even since before its beginning. 

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims is all about religious freedom. 

It's all about freedom, period. 

I'm beginning to think that people -- in addition to 10- and 13-year-olds -- need to read this.  The Pilgrims escaped Holland and London for religious freedom.  They came to the New World before there was an America, for religious freedom, and that voyage and their establishment of Plymouth Colony and everything that happened there gave birth -- later on, years and years, decades later -- to our founding documents. This is a nation that is founded on the principle of religious freedom.  That is the reason this country exists, and it just bit the dust in Arizona. 

Here are the audio sound bites.  Let's start with Governor Brewer. We've got two of these bites.  Here you go...

BREWER:  I've not heard one example in Arizona where business owners' religious liberty has been violated.  The bill is broadly worded and could result in unintended and negative consequences.  After weighing all of the arguments, I have vetoed Senate Bill 1062 moments ago.

RUSH:  She said that she has "not heard an example in Arizona where business owner's religious liberty has been violated."  Maybe she's not aware what's happened in Utah, Colorado, where businesses were shut down for this reason.  Here is the next explanation Governor Brewer...

BREWER:  To the supporters of this legislation, I want you to know that I understand that long-held norms about marriage and family are being challenged as never before.  Our society is undergoing many dramatic changes.  However, I sincerely believe that Senate Bill 1062 has the potential to create more problems than it purports to solve.  It could divide Arizona in ways we could not even imagine and no one would ever want.  Religious liberty and a core American and Arizona value.  So is nondiscrimination.

RUSH:  You know, I've been reading some people's review of this, and the victors, the people that are crowing over all this, are claiming that what really happened here is that a phony bill that was rooted in phony religious freedom, under the guise of homophobia, was vetoed by Jan Brewer.  So the people that won this thing are beating their chests, are out there claiming here that nondiscrimination triumphed over discrimination, that there was nothing about religious freedom in this bill at all.  "It was all anti-gay. 

"It was under the guise of religious freedom," and if you read the bill (it's two pages), there's nothing about homosexuality in the bill. The word isn't mentioned. Gay weddings, marriage, none of that is mentioned.  Rich Lowry, "Brewer's Foolish Veto -- It was jarring to read the coverage of the new 'anti-gay bill,'" quote/unquote, "passed by the Arizona Legislature and then look up the text of the" bill. I mean, jarring to read the way this bill was portrayed than to actually read it.

"The bill was roughly 998 pages shorter than much of legislation that passes in Washington..." Most bills are 1,000 pages; this was two pages. "[S]o reading it didn't take much of a commitment. ... [I]t was easy to scan for disparaging references to homosexuality, for veiled references to homosexuality, for any references to homosexuality at all.  They weren't there." There weren't any references to homosexuality.

"A headline from The Week declared, 'There is nothing Christian about Arizona's anti-gay bill.' It would be more accurate to say that there was nothing anti-gay about Arizona's anti-gay bill."  The bill was not anti-gay; it was pro religious freedom.  That's why the victors are out there beating their chest like Tarzan in the jungle saying that nondiscrimination has triumphed over gay bashing in the guise of religious freedom. 

"The legislation consisted of minor clarifications of [Arizona]'s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which has been on the books for 15 years and is modeled on the federal act that passed with big bipartisan majorities in the 1990s and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton."  In other words, the bill mirrors a federal law that is already the law of the land -- of course, being ignored.

And just like Arizona had tried to pass its own immigration laws that mirrored federal immigration laws 'cause Obama wasn't endorsing them -- the judge threw that out -- Arizona said, "You know what? We're not gonna wait for a judge to throw it out.  We'll just do it ourselves this time," essentially.  Here's the real nub of it, and everybody knows it: "Arizona was going to lose the Super Bowl over this," a two-page piece of legislation.  This was media coverage that portrayed this bill in ways that it wasn't. 

This is how it works. 

This is the Washington soap opera. 

That's why I said two days ago that everybody here was being bullied, because the bill was mischaracterized from the get-go, and everybody -- low-information voters, hell, everybody else -- thought it was a gay-bashing bill.  Who reads legislation, for crying out loud?  Hell, members of Congress don't even read it anymore.  Why would we expect John Q. Six-Pack Citizen to take the time to go find it and read it? 

"Gov. Jan Brewer took no chances and vetoed it Wednesday. The bill was the subject of a truly awe-inspiring tsunami of poorly informed indignation.  For The New York Times editorial board, the bill was 'A License to Discriminate.' It constituted 'the legalizing of anti-gay prejudice,' according to a piece in US News & World Report. It was, Salon scoffed, 'cartoonishly bigoted.' A reference to Jim Crow was obligatory in any discussion of the bill on [the mind vacuum that is] cable TV. 

"Writing in The Week, Elizabeth Stoker said the logic of the bill 'threatens to twist Christianity into a vile, exclusionary isolating thing.' But it was beyond the power of Arizona lawmakers to redefine Christianity. Stoker must have mistaken the Arizona Legislature for the Council of Nicaea.  In USA Today, the influential liberal pundit Kirsten Powers posited that the bill would enable all-out civil conflict, with Muslim pharmacists possibly refusing to give uncovered women antibiotics..."

That's already happening, and it's protected!  I've got a story here in the Stack where the Regime sent the EEOC or some bureaucracy after a trucking company in Illinois.  They fired a couple of Muslims who refused to deliver alcohol or some such thing, and the federal government said, "You can't fire 'em for that! They've got their religious freedom!" 

Let me find it.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  I have a press release from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission bragging about this.  "Star Transport, Inc., a trucking company based in Morton, Ill., violated federal law by failing to accommodate two employees because of their religion, Islam, and discharging them, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed [May 28, 2013].

"The lawsuit alleged that Star Transport refused to provide two employees with an accommodation of their religious beliefs when it terminated their employment because they refused to deliver alcohol." So the Feds went in and sanctioned Star Transport, sues them, because they fired a couple of employees who refused to deliver alcohol -- and they refused because of a violation of their religious tenets.  They're Muslims, and they don't want to be anywhere near alcohol. 

"According to EEOC District Director John P. Rowe...'Our investigation revealed that Star could have readily avoided assigning these employees to alcohol delivery without any undue hardship, but chose to force the issue despite the employees' Islamic religion.' Failure to accommodate the religious beliefs of employees, when this can be done without undue hardship, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion."  

Well. So here while the religious freedom of business owners in Arizona is ignored, the religious freedom of employees in Illinois is upheld by the federal government.  So this religious freedom business really does only go one way right now.  Look, I'm not reviewing all of this Arizona stuff because I think there was a different outcome possible.  There was no way this governor was ever gonna not veto this. 

The bullying that was going on -- and the NFL chiming in, trying to take the Super Bowl away, that's all it took.  That was the end of it there, and then Apple, Inc. saying, "Hey, you know, we're bringing 2000 jobs to this state, maybe.  It depends."  There was no question it was gonna go. But since we are interested in the truth and having you know it, I'm gonna tell you a little bit more about this.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Now, let me just reiterate: There was no way Governor Brewer was not going to veto this bill.  So I'm not spending time on this trying to beat her up after the fact.  There was only one possible outcome here.  There was only one.  This state has been beaten up by Obama. It's been beat up by every civil rights activist you can think of.  They've been totally cowed.  I think it's amazing they got this far, frankly, in getting the legislation they had passed. 

But I want to go back to Rich Lowry's piece because and then a couple of audio sound bites from Bill Donohue from the Catholic League, who had to try to explain -- to Chris Cuomo today on CNN -- what this was really all about.  "In USA Today, the influential liberal pundit Kirsten Powers posited that the bill would enable all-out civil conflict, with Muslim pharmacists possibly refusing to give uncovered women antibiotics," meaning women not wearing the burqa, for those of you in Rio Linda. 

They think "uncovered" means something else there.  "Christian pacifists refusing to let Army sergeants stay in their hotels, and Christian restaurateurs who oppose judging gays refusing to serve overly judgmental Christians." All of this was thrown out as, "Oh, my God, if she signs this bill, Katie, bar the door! We're gonna have people being denied services and products just everywhere. Because don't you know, this is just the most discriminatory, bigoted country ever! 

The left has to come in and protect the bigots, and everybody, else from themselves.  Well, as Rich Lowry writes, "If you'll excuse a brief, boring break from the hysteria to dwell on the text of the doomed bill, it stipulated that the word 'person' in the law applies to businesses and that the protections of the law apply whether or not the government is directly a party to a proceeding (e.g., a lawsuit brought on anti-discrimination grounds). 

"Eleven legal experts on religious freedom statutes ... wrote a letter to Gov. Brewer prior to her veto explaining how the bill 'has been egregiously misrepresented by many of its critics.'  In addition to the federal government, 18 states have such statutes and about a dozen other states interpret their state constitutions as extending the same protections, according to the letter." In other words, this is common what Arizona was attempting to establish! 

You know, if you want to get ticked off about something, it is... There is... How to phrase this a different way?  Jonathan Turley, constitutional professor somewhere, Georgetown, showed up again to testify on Capitol Hill.  He's up there and he's wringing his hands. "We are at a constitutional tipping point."  I've got the sound bites here coming up later.  "We're at a constitutional tipping point, 'cause Obama is just running roughshod.  But so did Bush," he said, to qualify.

He's a good liberal, so he had throw Bush in there.  It's not even close, Jonathan.  Bush and Obama?  It's not even close, the constitutional usurpation.  There's never been anybody like Obama.  Anyway, Turley says this is very bad.  You know why Turley says it's very bad?  It's very bad because the Founding Fathers never dreamed that the other two branches would basically lay down and allow themselves to be walked all over!

The Founding Fathers thought that the people in the judicial and legislative branches would be trying to get as much power from the executive as they could, but they would not just lay down and let an executive walk all over 'em.  He said he can't believe it. He cannot believe that Congress doesn't care. They're losing power be with Obama's taking it.  Now, Turley knew he was gonna be in trouble for this, so you know what else he said? 

"By the way, I happen to agree with everything the president's doing policy-wise.  I just have a problem with how he's doing it."  Give me a break! That is a qualifier that's a bit suspicious to me. "Oh, yeah, I agree with the president policy wise most of the time.  I'm just worried how he's doing it. It's a constitutional tipping point." Well, the same here.  Turley is right.  The other branches are just laying down.  They're just allowing this to happen, and you and I know why. 

It's the same reason why everybody, why the governor and all of the forces behind this bill laid down.  There is just abject fear of minorities right now.  There is fear of being labeled a bigot or a racist.  The whole debate is set up.  Everything the majority wants to do now is bigoted, discriminatory.  It's the way everything's been characterized, and so the people who are trying to do the right thing never stand up for themselves after they're trying to do it.  The right thing has no defense. 

The right thing has nobody shouting in its defense. 

The right thing has nobody. After they write it, and after making effort, they let it die. They allow themselves to be walked all over.  They allow themselves to be mischaracterized.  They allow their work to be mischaracterized.  We've never seen anything like it, and we all know why.  Fear of the media.  It's clear as a bill what made this in Arizona happen.  The media and the left-wing bullies were able to totally mischaracterize what this was.

And the people who knew that they were being mischaracterized didn't dare stand up and say, "No, you're wrong."  They just didn't want to take that risk. They figured they have nobody on their side.  They figured they'd have no support, no help, an ddidn't want to be a lone wolf or a series of lone wolves. They just said, "You know what? We'll get this issue off the table. We'll come back and we'll get 'em on... on... uh... on... Well, we'll get 'em on the next one," and they cave on the next one and say, "We'll get 'em on the next one!"

And they cave on that, and you and I know why.  So what Arizona had on the table is something that's already federal law and essentially the law of 18 states and others.  Now, let's wrap up Lowry: "Eleven legal experts on religious freedom statutes ... wrote a letter to Gov. Brewer prior to her veto explaining how the bill 'has been egregiously misrepresented by many of its critics.'  ...

"The letter argues that, properly interpreted, the federal law that inspired the Arizona statute covers cases that don't directly involve the government and covers businesses. So Arizona's changes weren't radical but in keeping with a federal law once championed by none other than Sen. Ted Kennedy.  A religious freedom statute doesn't give anyone carte blanche to do whatever he wants in the name of religion.

"It simply allows him to make his case in court that a law or a lawsuit substantially burdens his religion and that there is no compelling governmental interest to justify the burden," and now that's even been taken away here. "For critics of the Arizona bill, the substance was almost an afterthought." The substance didn't matter.  It was the opportunity the bill gave them.  A, mischaracterize it.  B, call it gay bashing. 

C, attach it to the Republicans and make 'em out to be the usual racist, sexist, bigot, homophobes.  D, scare them into paralysis.  E, we get what we want -- and what we want is this Constitution shredded and bastardized every chance we get.  "The question isn't whether businesses run by people opposed to gay marriage on religious grounds should provide their services for gay weddings," but it became that. Not only is this the denial of religious freedom, this is using the force of government to force people to act in ways they don't want to act. 

It's a double whammy. 

Again, "The question isn't whether businesses run by people opposed to gay marriage on religious grounds should provide their services for gay weddings; it is whether they should be compelled to by government." That's the question, and that's what just happened.  The government can now compel people, just like they can't compel you to buy a product or insurance, but now they can.  The government can't compel you to do business with people you don't want to, except now they can. 

"The critics of the much-maligned Arizona bill pride themselves on their live-and-let-live open-mindedness..."

Oh, yeah.  They're the tolerant ones, you see.  They're the ones that are not closed-minded!  They're the ones that are not bigoted.  Oh, noooo.  And they certainly aren't the bullies.  Oh, no.  They're just loving, kind, soft-spoken, gentle people who just want everybody to get along -- except when you don't agree with them, and then they become like jackbooted thugs, and they start bullying everybody in their way.  They become highly moralistic in their support of gay marriage, judgmental of those who oppose it, and tolerant of only one point of view: Their own. 

They are the exact opposite of the way they portray themselves.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: We got a guy who works for the Star Trucking Company on the phone.  He's driving through Wisconsin.  Hey, Jim.  Welcome to the program.  Great to have you here.  Hi.

CALLER:  Hi.  Hi.  Can you hear me?

RUSH:  Yeah.  You're Jim, right?

CALLER:  Yeah, I'm Jim.

RUSH:  Okay.

CALLER:  It's the first time I've ever called you.  Well, yeah, I don't work for Star anymore.  I used to.  But what I was trying to tell your screener was that Star has a policy. When you first go in for orientation, you have a what they call a force dispatch, which means the dispatcher give you a load and you have to take it. You sign that paper.

RUSH:  Wait, wait, wait, wait.  I want to make sure I understand this.  So when you get hired at Star trucking, Star trucking gives you a piece of paper that you agree to sign, and when you sign it, you are agreeing to ship whatever they give you? Whatever's in the shipment, you'll drive it?

CALLER:  Yes.  Yes.  It's basically the dispatcher gives you a load, sends you a load, and you haul it.

RUSH:  So when you sign this, you know that you have no choice. You can't refuse whatever they may put in the trailer. You've got to take it.

CALLER:  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.

RUSH:  You think these two Muslim drivers knew full well when they signed on that they might have to drive some alcohol?

CALLER:  Yeah, yeah.  That's basically what the paper says. You have to take whatever. It's a forced dispatch company, and you have to take whatever you're given.  You know, whatever dispatch, you have to take that load. You can't refuse.

RUSH:  Not anymore, Jim. Not the case anymore.  What's happened is the government has just told Star Trucking that they can't do that anymore. They can't force people to haul. Now, they could make you drive a bunch of condoms. They could make you drive whatever you don't want to drive. You couldn't object to it.

CALLER:  Yeah.  Yeah.  It doesn't matter. You have to take the load.

RUSH:  No, you don't.  That's the point.

CALLER:  Well, most companies are like that. Most companies don't have a no force dispatch policy, but the Star was one of the companies I worked for that had -- well, the first company I'd worked for that had.

RUSH:  So the point is that these two guys knew full well. They signed a release, in essence.  We know what's going on here, too, folks.  This didn't just happen, and this just isn't some couple of guys randomly offended and doing something about it.  We know what's going on.

END TRANSCRIPT

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