This video shows how little provocation it takes to get progressive totalitarians in a tizzy:

This week’s big flashpoint moment came from Indiana, when a progressive ‘reporter’ played into the storyline that Indiana’s RFRA law was horrible. John Hinderaker’s post is must reading on the subject:

Yesterday Minnesota’s governor, Mark Dayton, joined the chorus of denunciation: “‘I abhor the actions taken by the Legislature and governor of Indiana,’ Dayton told the Star Tribune.” Dayton, like a number of other governors, says he is considering a ban on official travel to Indiana. So Minnesota’s bureaucrats may no longer be able to take junkets to Terre Haute.

The hysterical reaction to Indiana’s law can only be described as insane. As we noted here, there is a federal RFRA that governs federal laws, 19 states have their own RFRAs, and ten other states have adopted the “strict scrutiny” standard of the Indiana statute by judicial opinion. Governor Dayton is perhaps unaware that Minnesota is one of those ten states. Hill-Murray Fed’n of Teachers v. Hill-Murray High School, 487 N.W.2d 857, 865 (Minn. 1992); State v. Hershberger, 462 N.W.2d 393, 398 (Minn. 1990).

Today, Michael Barone’s article offers this explanation for what’s at stake:

The Indiana law is substantially identical to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed by Congress by a near-unanimous vote in 1993 and signed with brio by Bill Clinton. It was a response to a Supreme Court decision upholding an Oregon drug law against members of the Native American Church who had claimed their religion requires drug use.

RFRA sets up a balancing test, to be employed by courts. Government cannot enforce a statute requiring people to violate their religious convictions unless it can demonstrate a compelling interest in doing so, and proceeds to do so by the least restrictive means possible.

This is in line with longstanding American tradition. The First Amendment, ratified in 1790, guaranteed Americans the “free exercise” of religion. The Framers knew that their new republic included Quakers, Jews, Catholics, Protestants, atheists, even perhaps a few Muslims. They wanted all to be free to live, not just worship, but live, according to their beliefs.

There’s little doubt that this week’s firestorm is purely political. These LGBT organizations know the laws on the books, though I can’t say the same about Gov. Dayton. As Barone says, RFRAs impose “a balancing test” for the judiciary to follow in determining whether the government can limit a person’s right to live out their religious beliefs. What RFRAs do, too, is tell government that they must use the least most intrusive remedy if they can demonstrate a “compelling interest” in limiting a person’s right to practice their religion.

This isn’t new. As Mr. Barone highlights, this “is in line with longstanding American tradition.” I’d hope that the judiciary wouldn’t take a sledgehammer to people’s religious rights. Apparently, that’s the remedy these LGBT activists want.

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