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Lawmakers Pass Bill Allowing Some Employers To Dictate Religious Beliefs And Behavior



The Indiana Senate has passed a bill allowing any faith-based group or corporation doing business with the state to dictate the religious beliefs and behavior of its employees.

Could your boss dictate your faith? Your religious beliefs? Your religious practices?

A wide-sweeping bill that just passed the Indiana state senate seems to say yes to all the above.

The bill applies to every religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society that contracts with any entity of the Indiana government (or federal government). It literally mandates these faith-based organizations not be prohibited from “giving a preference in employment to individuals of a particular religion,” nor be prohibited from “requiring that all employees and applicants conform to the religious tenets of the organization.”

What does this mean?

First, it means your employer can mandate your religious beliefs. Want to keep your job? Be a Christian. A Catholic. A Jew. A Muslim. A Mormon. Whatever your boss says – and no atheists, no agnostics allowed. Gay? No way.

And second, it means every faith-based organization in the state of Indiana will have motivation to under-bid all for-profit entities to obtain a state contract. Those contracts will, (should the highly-religious Republican governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, sign it,) be an automatic “get out of jail free” card, or a “license to discriminate,” allowing previously unheard-of cult-like adherence to the religious tenets of one’s employer.

In short, your boss could also be the boss of your religious behaviors. To keep your job, you could say you believe whatever your boss does. But to keep your job, you literally would have to follow the behaviors he or she mandates. That could mean no abortion, no birth control, no masturbation, no infidelity. Or no pork. No alcohol. Or no medical attention. Perhaps no dancing. It could also mean forced tithing.

Sound far-fetched?

“How many tenets must you conform to?” Democratic State Senator Karen Tallian asks. “Do you have to go to church every Sunday? Can you eat meat on a Friday?” Tallian told the IndyStar the legislation, which is sponsored by Republican State Sen. Travis Holdman, is “outrageous.”

Senator Holdman (photo) claims he drafted the legislation in response to a ruling by the state Attorney General against Indiana Wesleyan University, a private, Christian evangelical liberal arts college. Holdman says in that ruling the Attorney General, as the Chicago Tribune reports, “said Wesleyan’s religious lifestyle mandate violated state contracting requirements against employment discrimination.”

The university doesn’t allow employees to teach against its faith beliefs. From its “lifestyle statement” that would include prohibitions on activities such as drinking, smoking, homosexuality, and dancing.

Again, sound far fetched?

The Archbishop of San Francisco reportedly just made all employees in his four Catholic high schools “ministers.” All employees. Teachers, janitors, secretaries. Why? To “eliminate anti-discrimination and other workplace protections,” according to a petition launched by the students. And he is adding a morals clause to their contracts which stipulates all employees must abide by Catholic Church teachings. In a statement, Archbishop Cordileone noted, “all extra-marital sexual relationships are gravely evil, including adultery, masturbation, fornication, the viewing of pornography and homosexual relations.”

“Every staff member is expected to ‘conduct their lives so as to not visibly contradict, undermine or deny these truths,'” he reportedly added.

Now how far-fetched is the Indiana bill sounding?


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