The Butcher’s Bill

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act has caused an indisputable crisis.  Right or wrong, that is a fact. So, this addition of my blog goes out in the form of a plea.  My plea is this:  treat the crisis we are in like a tornado, an out of control fire in our city, an infectious disease that is threatening the lives of people in our neighborhoods.  Because that is what it is.

Take some time off from debating whether SEA 101 is right or not.  Today, that is irrelevant.  Tomorrow, even less so.  The damage done to the economy of the city of Indianapolis is undeniable.  And it’s still storming here.  It’s still burning.  The virus is spreading.

If this Act had created the Angie’s List deal, landed a convention or two, attracted the NCAA headquarters, our leaders would be able to put an economic impact price tag on the Act’s achievement, and the credit they deserve for it.  So, what is the price tag of our losses so far?  From here on out at IndyContrariana we are going to call that price tag the “Butcher’s Bill.”

Who is keeping track of the Butcher’s Bill?  And when has RFRA become too expensive a bill to justify its existence?

Imagine it is March 1 and not March 31.  Would the proponents of the bill have traded the economic outlook that day for this one in exchange for the RFRA?  If any legislative leader or our Governor would have told me “yes” to that question, I would have called an ambulance for them.  So now we are here and it appears that same choice is being made every day, with the Butcher’s Bill getting more expensive with it.  Remember, we still are six days away from one of the biggest showcase days in our city’s history—so in many ways, this legislative crisis is holding us hostage for at least that long.  There is no hope to quietly and methodically solve this out of the spotlight.

What if this were a public health crisis and there was no one to blame for it?  Would our Governor be trying to protect us then?  We again could tally up that Butcher’s Bill and react accordingly.  If a change in any state law could turn the tide on that crisis, wouldn’t the leaders in the Senate or House move it as quickly as possible?  Of course they would.

Indiana is where we live.  Indianapolis is my neighborhood.  The reaction to this Act is hurting us.  Be mad at the media and the people that don’t live here all you want, but we are the ones being hurt.  Your constituents.  The people you govern.  And for what?  A legal defense to a hypothetical problem?

We want the state and the city we had before this bill became a law.  I can’t believe that the people of this state would trade the state we are in today for the situation we had before.  I am troubled that no one in charge seems to see it that way….yet.

It is time to stop debating the policy and put out the fire. Before we have nothing left to burn.  Every Butcher’s Bill is expensive, or it wouldn’t be given such an awful name.  But our government’s leaders are running up the tab voluntarily now, merely because they lack the courage to admit that this has gone as wrong as it clearly has.

Back to the plea:  please, we are begging you, swallow your pride and call it quits.