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Mina Christina Xydias <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mina Christina Xydias <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 2 Apr 2015 10:15:34 -0400
text/plain (157 lines)
amen Janet...
I thoroughly agree with you. its a shame that tolerance doesn't swing both ways. 

> Date: Thu, 2 Apr 2015 09:40:55 -0400
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [MELIBS-L] FW: ALA Statement on Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act
> To: [log in to unmask]
> The following may not reflect the views of the Rangeley Library Association.
> It is simply the opinion of one library employee.
> The president of the American Library Association should not take a position
> on issues that have little if anything to do with libraries as if they
> reflect the view of all library employees. Since ALA President Courtney
> Young has made a public statement regarding Indiana's Religious Freedom
> Restoration Act, I would like to respond. 
> Did you know that we already live under a federal RFRA which was sponsored
> in 1993 by Sen. Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) among others. It
> was passed unanimously by the House and 97-3 in the Senate and then signed
> into law by President Clinton. However, since the Supreme Court ruled in
> 1997 in City of Boerne v. Flores that the federal RFRA did not apply to
> state and local government action, individual states have found it necessary
> to enact their own RFRAs to protect the religious freedoms of their
> citizens. Indiana is just one of a number of states to pass such a law.
> RFRAs protect people with sincerely-held religious beliefs from
> overly-burdensome government regulation. They do not allow people to use
> religion as an excuse to escape the enforcement of general laws. In order to
> claim protection under RFRA, the burden of proof is on the individual to
> show that they have a sincere religious belief and that the government
> action in question places a substantial burden upon them. If the individual
> can prove this, then the government must show that it has a compelling
> interest in burdening the religious practice, and that it is doing so in the
> least restrictive way possible.
> RFRAs protect everyone, not just people of one religious faith, which is why
> the federal RFRA passed in 1993 enjoyed support from a broad and diverse
> spectrum of religious and political groups ranging from the ACLU to the
> Southern Baptists. So, why the big uproar over Indiana's new law which is
> basically the same as the federal law? Apparently the GLBTQ community feels
> threatened by its passage. They claim discrimination against them when
> actually the pendulum has swung so far in the other direction that people
> who choose not to participate in or celebrate homosexual weddings are forced
> to participate or face severe legal consequences. Even the Wall Street
> Journal pointed out in an opinion piece on March 30, 2015 that "(t)he
> paradox is that even as America has become more tolerant of gays, many
> activists and liberals have become ever-more intolerant of anyone who might
> hold more traditional cultural or religious views."
> An example of this new intolerance is the case of Baronell Stutzman, a
> grandmother from Washington state and owner of Arlene's Flowers, who has
> been sued by the state of Washington and two men for being unwilling to do
> flower arrangements for their same-sex wedding. She was willing to sell them
> flowers but had politely declined doing the arrangements at their wedding
> and asked them to find another florist. The court denied Baronell a trial,
> and instead ordered that the state of Washington and the same-sex couple can
> collect damages and attorney's fees against both her business and her
> personal home and savings. So, this older woman who has worked hard and
> saved her whole life may lose her life savings just because she is unwilling
> to act in a way that contradicts her beliefs.
> Cases like this are happening all over our country. In the name of
> tolerance, we have become incredibly intolerant. Indiana's RFRA is an
> attempt to defend people against this new intolerance. And now, back to
> libraries.  This law does not, as Courtney Young seems to imply, support
> libraries denying service to anyone. Those on both sides of the RFRA issue
> believe that "it is the responsibility of library staff  offer
> equal and unfettered access to all users in keeping with the library Bill of
> Rights and principles of intellectual freedom."
> Janet Wilson
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Maine Libraries Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
> Behalf Of Jennifer A. Alvino
> Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2015 10:16 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [MELIBS-L] FW: ALA Statement on Indiana Religious Freedom
> Restoration Act
> Jennifer A. Alvino, MLIS
> ALA Maine Chapter Councilor
> Library Director
> Windham Public Library
> ________________________________
> From: Michael Dowling [[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2015 9:54 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [alacro-l] ALA Statement on Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration
> Act
> ALA President Courtney Young releases statement regarding Indiana's new
> Religious Freedom Restoration Act
> Tue, 03/31/2015
> CHICAGO -  Indiana Governor Mike Pence recently signed into law the
> Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Section 1.IC34-13.9 of the Indiana Code)
> as passed by the Indiana General Assembly. The law is part of a disturbing
> trend of  "RFRA's" that many states are passing to guarantee that people and
> businesses have the right to exercise their constitutional freedom of
> religion in regard to the services they offer to the public. Unlike many
> other states, Indiana does not have a non-discrimination law that protects
> GLBTQ persons and provides an opportunity to legalize intolerance.
> Following Governor Pence's request that the General Assembly try to fix the
> law amidst local and national outcry, American Library Association (ALA)
> President Courtney Young released the following statement:
> "The Religious Freedom Restoration Act contradicts the fundamental values of
> the ALA and libraries. The ALA deplores and rejects any law that violates
> the civil liberties of any person.  Our association is built around the ALA
> Code of Ethics and the Library Bill of Rights that reflect this deeply held
> value.  Access to all applies to libraries as well as restaurants,
> businesses, and associations like ours.
> "We reaffirm that is it is the responsibility of library staff everywhere,
> regardless of the legal ability to refuse service, to offer equal and
> unfettered access to all users in keeping with the library Bill of Rights
> and principles of intellectual freedom.
> "The Indiana RFRA has understandably triggered deep concern in the ALA
> community, which is currently scheduled for its 2021 Midwinter Meeting in
> Indianapolis.  Although the law has been denounced by the Mayor of
> Indianapolis, the Chamber of Commerce, and many businesses, the ALA and key
> Indiana members continue to monitor the legislative situation.
> "ALA's Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is calling for input
> from the membership-how can we best engage our host communities when ALA
> holds its conference in the midst of a local controversy that touches us
> all?
> "The ALA and its members will continue efforts to work towards developing a
> long-term strategy to encounter the growing trend of RFRA's, which threaten
> to undermine civil rights and the fundamental principles upon which
> libraries are founded."
> The American Library Association (ALA), the voice of America's libraries, is
> the oldest, largest, and most influential library association in the world.
> Its approximately 56,000 members are primarily librarians but also trustees,
> publishers, and other library supporters. The Association represents all
> types of libraries; its mission is to promote the highest-quality library
> and information services and public access to information.
> Contact:
> Macey Morales
> Manager Media Relations
> [log in to unmask]