Stop the World–Mike Pence Wants Off

Religion News Service reports on an interesting recent survey in which people were asked about the purported conflict between religious liberty and civil rights for LGBT Americans.

The short version? Most Americans oppose religious exemptions to LGBT non-discrimination laws.

The details?

  • 71 percent– including majorities in all 50 states and 30 major metropolitan areas — support laws that would protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people from discrimination in jobs, housing and public accommodations.
  • 59 percent oppose allowing small-business owners in their state to refuse service to gay and lesbian people, if doing so conflicts with their religious beliefs.
  • 53 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage, compared with 37 percent (including most evangelical Protestants and Mormons) who oppose it.

Even among groups opposed to same-sex marriage, support for protection from discrimination crosses all “partisan, religious, geographic, and demographic lines,” according to Public Religion Research Institute CEO Robert P. Jones.

The survey results demonstrate something that many of us have suspected: opposition to civic equality for LGBT folks is not coming primarily from religious denominations or organizations. (Click through to see the breakdown.) Anti-gay bias is primarily a political position, not a religious one, and the difference between the political parties is stark: the survey found that 74 percent of Democrats but only 40 percent of Republicans support civil rights protections for LGBT citizens.

Of course, that’s little comfort for those of us who live in blue cities located in bright red states like Indiana.

In our gerrymandered state, it would take a lot of organization, a lot of energy, and a truly superior “get out the vote” effort even to reduce the legislative super-majority enjoyed by the GOP. But those of us who disapprove of the legislature’s failure to add four words and a comma to the state’s civil rights law—and those of us embarrassed by our Governor’s homophobic and theocratic impulses—do have the opportunity to send a very clear message to the political establishment by decisively defeating Governor Pence this November.

Unlike the majority of religious folks, Mike Pence hasn’t come to terms with social progress. It isn’t just LGBT Hoosiers; his views on education, the environment and women are wildly at odds with the views of most of our citizens. His disinterest in the nitty-gritty of governing, and the damage he’s done to the state’s business climate, make him eminently beatable.

Maybe we can’t stop the world to let him off—but we can retire him and get on with the business of making Indiana a state that welcomes everyone.


  1. I really do hope that the die-hard Republicans in our state don’t vote for Pence again just to keep someone from their party in that office. Last Saturday my local Republican State Rep commented that he didn’t believe Pence would be re-elected. For one of his fellow Republicans, who knows what is going on at the State House and what is discussed among the members, to say something like that…. well, it was music to my ears.

    While I have friends that are vocally anti-gay yet not particularly religious, I was completely unaware that anti-gay bias is primarily political. The people I know who are extremely anti-gay have always used the Bible to validate their condemnation of this “lifestyle”. Could it actually be that the religious bigots are mostly Republican and that is why it is showing up as a political bias? I just find it hard to believe that it doesn’t start with religious beliefs.

  2. I must repeat my earlier question on this issue? Exactly how do business owners discern LGBTs from straights to refuse service? My Lesbian and Gay friends are all just regular people. Or, like Donald Trump’s promise to have all Muslims carry a card stating their religion, could Pence, et al, decide to require an identification card for LGBTs?

    Lord; sometimes I get so tired:-(

  3. Sometimes I think that bullies, and I include those who use political or religious means, are so insecure that they must find someone, anyone, to whom they can feel superior, whether by physical or social intimidation. They are sad, sad people.

  4. We are all the same. We are all different. That’s reality. It just is.

    Conservatives hate reality. They believe themselves entitled to a fantasy world that would accommodate their political teachings. Such a world doesn’t exist.

    That’s why their political teachings so often fail. That’s why their politics have to be taught in order to exist. First they have to be taught to ignore what they see around them, then they have to be emotionally conditioned towards fear and anger, then they have to be taught conservatism as a response.

    Liberals settle for the world as it is. It’s far from perfect but it’s the only one we have. We have to work with it, not some imaginary perfect world.

  5. Nancy: Sociology can offer an insight for your question about where anti-gay sentiments come from if not religion. They can come our socialization into Us and Them, In groups and Out groups. And the Out groups can be seen as dangerous, disdainful, dirty, unworthy very easily when they are identified with things we think have those characteristics. Such as sex. Those of us who are in In groups, the majority/dominant groups such as white, male, heterosexual do not even have to think of ourselves as being in a group because we are safe and accepted. But what if you are a woman, not a man, walking alone to your car in a parking lot after dark? We’ve been socialized to think about it and think hard about it. Am I alert to my surroundings? Am I carrying my keys so I can hit an attacker? Did I remember to park under a light? Similarly, we think of members of Out groups, we only see the label and the judgments about it and not the individual unless we have actual personal interaction with the person, which can override the stereotypes and we may make an exception to the stereotype for that person and let the stereotype stand. (Sadly) I believe we are socialized with such a twisted mess of messages about our sexuality that it really doesn’t surprise me that people can react to people who live outside the tiny little lines of “okay” sexuality with disgust and horror. I disagree with them and the socialization underlying their reaction, but I think I see a mechanism that explains it.

  6. This is all well and good but to defeat Governor Pence in the Fall will require getting people that feel that he should indeed be “retired” out to vote. Given that the opposition party is so lackluster and devoid of anything approaching enthusiasm and that their candidate for Governor is virtually no where to be seen or heard, I’m at a loss to see how this is going to happen. Hopefully, things will change but in spite of the horrendous job that the Republicans are doing in this state on so many levels, including their penchant for writing discriminatory laws, no one, no one at all, has said a word publically that even calls them out for their gross misdeeds other than in newspaper editorials. If the Democrats are going to stand a chance of defeating Pence and other Republicans up for re-election that they’re going to have to ramp up their game a great deal and do it soon.

  7. Pence is absolutely squirming over the gay “issue”. He got smacked down so hard when practically every business pulled out or threatened to, that now he can’t give a straightforward answer to the question of will he give the the lgbt people in his state equal protection. He was so certain when he signed the now infamous bill, proudly having the occasion photographed with every hate mongering bigot in tow…so certain was he of being a big hero for all the conservative bigots. It made the smack down worth a large popcorn with butter!

    The other day he was cornered by a gay man who wanted an answer about his intention for extending equal protection for gays and lesbians across the board, and Pence became a quivering bowl of Jello, incapable of giving an answer and unable to be his former angry gay hating self. He WANTED to say that he’d like to round ’em all up and lock them away, but his ass got kicked so hard that he still can’t sit down. So he pandered to both sides with his usual double talk nonsense, but it’s no use…he’s been exposed, and I doubt anyone but his nutcase right wing fanatics will henceforth take him seriously.

  8. Tom Lund, I agree that so far the Dems are not making much noise about their Candidate, and there hasn’t been much noise coming from Gregg either. But their is a sizable group related to education; teachers, parents and communities that are strongly opposed to Pence and the GOP positions on Education. Last election the pitch to teachers (who sadly vote mostly GOP) was split your ticket – vote for Glenda and for Pence if you must. But that is not going to happen this election. Teachers are infuriated with this GOP that continues to say they support public education but continue to cut funding for the 94% of the kids that attend public schools while increasing the funding for the 6% who do not. This stupid rule of no politics while the legislature is in session is frustrating those of us that want Gregg to start campaigning, but in a few weeks I think you will see not only a different John Gregg, but a very fired up teacher group that has made it a goal to get Pence out of office.

  9. Thanks Teresa,

    I sure hope so!! Time is short and the whole Republican side of the fence in this state, starting with Pence, needs to be slapped down hard and it has to be sustained throughout the year into the Fall. These fools have forfeited their right to govern big time. Kudos to the Teacher Cavalry!!!!!

  10. Teresa Kendall and Tom Lund:

    I thought I was the only Democrat in Indiana. Are there others? What is their demographic? Is there a way we can hear from them? Is there a party blog?

  11. In addition to his 19th century views on LGBT people, he has come out against EPA’s rules to require fewer air emissions from coal-fired power plants again demonstrating his affinity and affection for the technology of 19th century. The religious right wing is first in Pence’s heart, but the coal industry and electric utilities own his mind.

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