3 Surprising Revelations About Indiana's Religious Freedom Law and Why Apple's Tim Cook Is Wrong

Kristi Burton Brown
Kristi Burton Brown is a pro-life attorney, volunteering for Life Legal Defense Foundation and also as an allied attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom.

Despite what Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, writes, despite what anti-religious people say, and despite what the liberal movement would have us believe, Indiana's Religious Freedom Law is perfectly appropriate – and actually necessary – for a civilized nation. Here's why.

1) The federal government and over 30 states already have a nearly identical law.

In the federal code, the law is known as RFRA: the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The sponsor of this law was Senator Charles Schumer – no friend to conservatives, and the president who signed it into law was none other than Bill Clinton. A mere twenty years ago, these kinds of laws were supported by the majority of our leaders – liberal and conservative.


RFRA laws make sense. They are rooted in the First Amendment. And, contrary to currently popular claims, they do not automatically allow every person with a religious claim to win in court. Instead, they give them an argument; a defense.

The Muslim restaurant that wants to refuse to make kosher food for a Jew? Covered by RFRA. The Muslim prisoner who wanted to grow a one-half inch beard in prison? Covered by religious freedom laws. The Christian bakery who wants to refuse to make a wedding cake for a polygamous threesome? Covered by RFRA.

None of these people are guaranteed to win in court, but, because we are a nation that recognizes the freedom of every religion, all of these people have an argument in court, thanks to religious freedom laws.

This is not a law for Christians; it is a law for all Americans.

2) This law does not target the LGBT community.

This law is not designed to target or discriminate against anyone. In fact, it's actually designed to stop discrimination against people with religious convictions. (And yes, that's a thing.)

There are as many different religious convictions as there are people in America. And, according to our legal system – and laws like Indiana's – we all have the right to make our case in court, defend our beliefs, and argue that we should be allowed to live by them.

Plenty of courts have struck down claims of religious freedom under RFRA type laws. They are not an automatic win. But they guarantee that people do not have to check their religious beliefs – whatever those may be – at the door in order to operate a business.

Really, this has just as much to do with LGBT people as it does with kosher food, Muslim beards, Mormon polygamy, and a host of other issues. In America, we recognize a right to conscience and a right to religious freedom. We are a free people. We do not all see eye-to-eye, nor should we be expected to.

No group of people should demand that they are so important that everyone must agree with them, serve them, and obey them. (And no, RFRA laws do not allow Christians to do this. They give Christians the right to follow their own religion, just as gays, Muslims, and pharmacists who object to dispensing abortion pills are given the right to claim their own sincerely held beliefs.)

3) The outcry over this law attempts to allow corporations to govern our nation.

Honestly, this is something liberals and conservatives should be able to agree on: we don't want corporations running America. No corporation or corporate leader is an elected official. They are not the voice of the people; they do not make law; they should not coerce government officials to cave to their will.

Allowing corporations to think they govern is a dangerous precedent. It squelches the rights of the people to vote. It allows big money to win. And money is never more important than the people.

Tim Cook has no right to attempt to govern Indiana. He wasn't elected; Mike Pence was.

Tim Cook needs to worry about governing Apple. He needs to do his own job right. Does he have a right to voice his opinion? Yes. But does he have a right to try to rule our nation from his seat behind a computer screen?

Absolutely not.

So please, Tim Cook, sit down. Worry about the next Apple operating system. And next time, if you are going to speak up about a law – which is your right, as a citizen, not as a corporate leader – take the time to actually study the history. Learn about what a law actually does, not what you'd like to claim it does.

For those who care enough to learn the history – according to liberals and conservatives who support Indiana's law – check out "Indiana: A Religious Liberty Bellwether " and "21 Problems With the National Outcry About Indiana's 'Religious Freedom' Law on One Map."

Let's all strive to be truly educated instead of raising an outcry that's based in false opinions.

Kristi Burton Brown is a pro-life attorney, volunteering for Life Legal Defense Foundation and also as an allied attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom. She enjoys being a stay-at-home mom, and is married to the amazing David Brown. Together, they have the cutest two kiddos in the world! Kristi loves her Savior, Jesus Christ, politics, and cooking. She also writes for Live Action News & Opinion (

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