Rich is cogent, accurate and right on target. He's also missing the point. Here's a sample.
For The New York Times editorial board, the bill was “A License to Discriminate.” It constituted “the legalizing of anti-gay prejudice,” according to a piece in U.S.News & World Report. It was, Salon scoffed, “cartoonishly bigoted.” A reference to Jim Crow was obligatory in any discussion of the bill on cable TV.There was no such thing in the proposed law. It's just extending religious freedom to businesses as Rich so ably describes.
Writing in The Week, Elizabeth Stoker said the logic of the bill “threatens to twist Christianity into a vile, exclusionary isolating thing...”
In addition to the federal government, 18 states have such statutes and about a dozen other states interpret their state constitutions as extending the same protections, according to the letter. The statutes, the scholars write, “say that before government can burden a person’s religious exercise, the government has to show a compelling justification.”Still, Rich is missing the point. My Cursillo friends were equally upset by the coverage of the bill and how it was totally mischaracterized as anti-gay. Of course it was. What did you expect?
If you lived in Riyadh, you wouldn't be surprised if all of the media outlets interpreted the news through an Islamic filter. You would never expect them to look at things the same way a non-Muslim would. It's not in their nature as the Saudi kingdom is an Islamic state and won't tolerate apostates.
America is rapidly becoming a religious state as well. Fascist nations or nations on the road to fascism always end up encompassing religious doctrines. They have to as they gather up every aspect of your life under the control of the State. I've blogged before about the progressives being a religious movement. That's exactly what's at work here.
For the progressives who make up most of the mainstream media, the proposed law in Arizona was the equivalent of uncovering the women of Riyadh. It doesn't matter if some of them are dying of heat stroke or if there are other valid reasons for it. It is wrong for religious reasons and there is no way such an effort would be covered with any degree of fairness.
So while the coverage of the law was unjust, it was certainly illuminating. It was exactly what you'd expect from a nation evolving into a (secular) theocracy.
Update: From the Wikipedia article on Freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia:
The Government prohibits the public practice of other religions but the government generally allows private practice of non-Muslim religions.And here, slightly edited to fit Obama's America:
The Government prohibits the public practice of many Christian, Jewish and Muslim religions but the government generally allows private practice of religion.