Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) on Friday blamed an “unholy alliance” of liberal interests for gutting religious freedom legislation in Arkansas and Indiana.
“The liberal elitists believe CNN should have First Amendment freedoms but not small businesses,” Jindal said at the National Rifle Association Leadership Forum in Nashville.
“The only freedom I think they engage in is the freedom to engage in absolute hypocrisy,” he argued. “Religious liberty created the United States and it’s the reason we’re here today.”
Jindal said big business, Hollywood and the media worked to oppress freedom of religion and speech in both states. He argued that alliance had changed the definition of tolerance nationwide, silencing people of faith.
“If these large forces can crush the First Amendment, it won’t be long before they get together and come after the Second Amendment too,” he told assembled NRA members of the right to bear arms.
“They’re trying to beat us in the boardrooms of corporate America,” he concluded. “The reality is the only group they feel it’s OK to discriminate against [is] evangelical Christians.”
Gov. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) signed Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act into existence on March 26. It immediately ignited a firestorm of criticism over concerns it protected business owners who discriminated because of gender or sexual identity.
The law’s opponents quickly coalesced around a #BoycottIndiana Twitter hash tag. A group of corporations, Hollywood celebrities and other politicians did just that, blacklisting the Hoosier State over its legislation.
Pence backpedaled and signed a measure altering the law on April 2. It now prohibits business discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The law is also no longer a legal defense in court cases alleging discrimination.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson avoided a similar backlash by waiting until his state’s law contained similar clarifying language before signing the bill. He authorized Arkansas’s version on April 2.
Critics of such religious freedom laws argue that they permit business discrimination based on religious belief. Supporters, meanwhile, claim they shield business owners from government meddling in their faith-based decisions.