Tags: Fox News | Rick Santorum | religious freedom | Indiana | Fox News | Arkansas

Rick Santorum: Indiana Law About Protecting Religious Freedom

By    |   Wednesday, 01 Apr 2015 10:45 AM

Indiana's controversial religious freedom law is nothing new, said former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum on Wednesday, and is about the free practice of religion, not discrimination.

"This law is not a new law," Santorum, who is considering a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, told "Fox & Friends." "This law has been around for 20 years. I voted for it and [so did] almost everybody else in the Congress."

Santorum's comments were in reference to the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1993, after it was introduced in the House by then Rep. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, and in the Senate by Ted Kennedy, D-Massachusetts. That law passed both the House and Senate by near-unanimous votes, but after a Supreme Court ruling only applies on the federal level.

"So states have subsequently gone out and passed the identical law that Bill Clinton signed [for] people of faith," Santorum said. Lawmakers, including Santorum, voted for the bill because "we believe that the First Amendment should be in practice in America; that people should have religious liberty."

That does not mean that that anyone who claims a religious exemption wins the debate, but the law "says it has to be considered," said the former senator.

"For example, someone who is a Sikh and has a beard and wants to work in a place and they say you have to shave your beard," he said. "They [may] say 'I have a religious reason for having the beard.' It doesn't necessarily win. They may in fact have to shave their beard."

The law does make the courts consider the legitimacy of a religious objection, said Santorum.

He said he does know there have been a few cases in which the law was used "with respect to photographers at weddings or cake bakers," said Santorum. "They have actually lost under this law."

On Tuesday, the Arkansas House of Representatives passed a religious freedom bill, similar to one recently approved in Indiana, over protests from critics who say it could open the door to discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The measure, which had strong support from the Republican members who dominate the statehouse, now goes to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who has said he would sign it.

Both laws aim to keep the state government from forcing business owners to act against their religious beliefs. But critics say the laws could be used to justify refusing service to gay and lesbian people. In Indiana, the law has led to calls to boycotts of the state's businesses and activities unless the legislation is amended.

Santorum said Wednesday the "screaming and hollering" over Indiana's bill, especially from corporate America, "is chilling."

"We have come to the point in America where religion is such — is considered so unimportant that corporate America can stand up and exercise its muscle," he told "Fox & Friends." "It's economic muscle to make sure that people of faith have no say in exercising their faith in the public square. That's a dangerous thing."

Also on Wednesday's program, the former senator commented about reports that he has been singled out by Islamic State extremists after he spoke out against them.

An ISIS-published magazine, Dabiq, singled out Santorum, along with Virginia GOP state Sen. Richard Black and CIA veteran and author Gary Berntsen, as "crusaders," reports The Washington Post.

The Dabiq article features full-page photos of all three men and quotes each one at length under the headline, "In the words of the enemy."

Santorum, in a jab at The New York Times, told "Fox & Friends" that the difference between being quoted by ISIS and the Times is "ISIS actually quoted accurately."

He said that he described "who they were, what they were about, and how much they wanted to accomplish, because it accurately described who they were."

His section of the article also contained "a comment on this administration and their unwillingness to deal directly with the truth about who ISIS is," Santorum said.

"They're a global jihadist movement," he reiterated to "Fox & Friends." "They want to expand a caliphate. I explained what that was about. I took it as them actually finding an American politician who actually described them as to who they really are."

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Indiana's controversial religious freedom law is nothing new, said former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum on Wednesday, and is about the free practice of religion, not discrimination.
Rick Santorum, religious freedom, Indiana, Fox News, Arkansas
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2015-45-01
Wednesday, 01 Apr 2015 10:45 AM
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