When it comes to the laws that governs us as a country many may come to realize that it seems like those laws sometimes have a blurred line or interpretation. One of these laws, as both Allen B. West and Roxanne Gay have written about, is that of the laws of separation of church and state and the religious freedom of individuals who base not only their lifestyle choices but business choices on their religious beliefs. Though both writers, differ in opinions when it comes to the laws that bind us and allow us freedom of religion and freedom of expression and opinion, the way that these writers address these issues to their audiences take on different tones and methods yet are each affective in getting their messages across to their readers. However, after reading and analyzing both of these writer’s articles and the laws that govern or rather provide guidelines to how we as US citizens should address religious freedom. It causes the question to raise, has the line between religious freedom and beliefs become blurred by recent changes in the civil rights of both Heterosexual and LGBT communities? Who do these laws really protect?

You're lucky! Use promo "samples20"
and get a custom paper on
"Religious Freedom Laws? Who benefits?"
with 20% discount!
Order Now

Both writers take on rather different tones when addressing their audiences, which in many ways shows just as much about their audience as it does the writer. In Allen B West’s article “Here’s EXACTLY why the Religious Freedom Act is so important”, he holds strong belief that Indiana’s Religious freedom Act holds more importance than it may be viewed, that it allows an individual to uphold their religious beliefs, while Roxanne in her “Indiana is not protecting religious freedom but outright zealotry” she believes the law only benefits the homophobic individuals that own business’ as well as to protect those who use religion as an excuse for their rather disturbing comments on homosexual beliefs. Allen B. West takes to his “personal” website, which allows him to be more bias in his address on the government’s recent interference with business’ that have denied homosexual couples service. He is able to voice his opinion as direct as if he were speaking to a group of friends, that also share his opinions. Both authors use personal stories as well stories that have been covered by news channels and other media outlets to provide an appeal to their audience’s pathos. Allen’s tone comes off, as many may view as harsh, very opinionated and a bit rude, while Roxanne takes on a tone of more understanding and more heart felt approach. Allen however, unlike Roxanne goes on to add quotes as well as using a letter from Thomas Jefferson in order to build more logos with his readers. Roxanne uses personal anecdote to appeal to her audience’s emotions.

Though both writers were affective in their opinionated articles, you have to wonder if really these laws are here to protect the individual who wants to marry their partner and have hopes of doing so in a church or does it protect that of a drug store owner who refuses to give a transgender their medication or sell condoms to a gay couple. So first we ask ourselves, what is this Religious Freedom law addressing? These laws, were originally designed to address religious and cultural customs that were of conflict when addressing the Native American rituals with feathers of endangered birds, hoasca used by a Brazilian faith yet being a drug, and Kosher meals in prison for Jews. However, conflict of interest was brought to life when Indiana’s law went beyond its predecessors; as it was then translated to grant individuals the right to deny service to those of sexual orientations that defy the individuals “religious belief”, specifically gay or lesbian couples and even transgender people. So there we have it, a law that has much confusion, when questioning how such religious freedom laws give any real religious freedom it seems that the LGBT community is at much loss in states such as Indiana, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho and the other 16 states in America.

As Roxanne states in her article “The law sets a dangerous precedent, though. There are, for example, LGBT people who want to spend their money in Indiana, and some Indiana business owners don’t want that dirty queer money. Their warped faith guides them in this way and so be it.” An Indiana pizzeria and bakery have both been shut down given their refusal to cater a same sex marriage wedding, could the changes in this “Religious Freedom” act cause this to have been avoided? Not only is it damaging for businesses to refuse service to anyone, it becomes illegal and discriminatory when it is based on the lifestyle of that individual, such as race, age, gender or sexual orientation. Charles M. Blow suggests, as a business in the United States, “regardless of your ‘deeply held religious beliefs,’ you have entered a nondiscriminatory zone,’ in which “each customer is treated equally.” The Indiana law intermingled social issues of religion and sexual orientation with economics and politics.

Since the release of the law, Indiana has edited its law to avoid refusal of service to homosexuals. Yet from the actions of individuals in these 21 states that also have revised religious freedom laws, it brings forth the same blurred vision of what law is really governed and upheld as the LGBT community still face being denied employment and services based on their life choices

  • Charles. “Religious Freedom vs. Individual Equality.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 01 Apr. 2015. Web. 20 Apr. 2016. .
  • Strauss, David A. “What the ‘religious Freedom’ Controversy Is Really about “Washington Post. The Washington Post, 10 Apr. 2015. Web. 20 Apr. 2016. .
  • Gay, Roxanne. “Indiana Is Not Protecting Religious Freedom but Outright Zealotry | Roxanne Gay.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 27 Mar. 2015. Web. 20 Apr. 2016. .