The following is my response to the Lexington Herald-Leader in its original. The published version, printed in the paper last Friday, is here.
It is easier to tell the truth than to lie because when you lie you have to make stuff up, and making stuff up is hard. So perhaps the most positive thing to say about many of the criticisms of SB 180 The Freedom of Religious Conscience Act, is to congratulate the critics on the effort and imagination it must take to misrepresent it so badly.
The Lexington Herald-Leader, acting in its usual role of mouthpiece for liberal groups, said the bill would "let businesses refuse to serve gay customers for reasons of faith" and, in its editorial several days later, would "overturn local ordinances" that ostensibly protects gays from "discrimination."
You would really have had to work up a sweat to think up a mischaracterization that bad.
SB 180 was written specifically to stop anti-religious bullying. It focuses on the protection of rights of cosncience of business owners very carefully and limits these protections solely to those services that involve the service provider personally in the event for which the service is being provided. This would cover only a very small number of cases.
Not only would the bill protect the Christian photographer who is asked to provide his creative services for a gay wedding, but it would protect the Black T-Shirt company who might be asked to print a T-shirt with White Supremacist messages.
SB 180 has nothing to do with a waiter serving a meal at a restaurant or a cashier at Wal-Mart, as the Herald-Leader coverage implied. All it does is to stop the increasingly aggressive bullying of people of faith who would be forced to provide a service that would directly involve them in an activity that violates their religious convictions.
The critics of SB 180 in and outside the media don't seem to want to actually read the bill--either that or they diliberately misrepresent it.
While the Herald-Leader and the groups apparently feeding it its lines claim to be opposed to discrimination, they adre instead promoting anti-religious hatred and encouraging the bullying of people who are minding their own business and simply trying to do the right thing according to their religious beliefs.
SB 180 would provide a very small safe space for religious people whose livelihoods are increasingly being threatened by those who preach tolerance, but who seem to have very little idea about how to practice it themselves.
The critics ought to issue a retraction. That would be the honest thing to do. And the nice thing about honesty is that it requires very little effort and no imagination at all.