Indiana Religious Freedom Bill

First off: Chief Delphi mods, please feel free to delete this thread if you find it inappropriate.

The State of Indiana has passed a Religious Freedom Bill, the official summary of which can be found here: https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/bills/senate/101#digest-heading

Some people feel the bill will allow businesses in Indiana to refuse to serve, or discriminate against LGBT people. The Governor of Indiana says this is not the case.

Several businesses and events have announced their intention to boycott the State of Indiana because of this bill.

Should the FRC community have any response to this, or is it irrelevant to FIRST Robotics?
Should this affect teams attending IRI?
Should the IRI organizers make any statement/policy in response?

Thanks for any thoughts anyone might have.

I believe this post is inappropriate here as it will just stir up trouble.

Teams that I’ve been a part of have a policy about no politics, and I believe this is true for Chief Delphi as well.

I think that this is an interesting question, but the thread should be moved to ‘Chit-Chat’ as it’s not DIRECTLY about FIRST/FRC.

The question is about how, if at all, teams should react to a political decision. It’s an interesting question because of the implication that FRC teams could exert pressure on politicians and other policy-makers and, if we can, how we should wield such power.

Yes this is a sensitive subject, but it should be available for discussion here on CD. I just hope an intelligent discussion can happen, like what typically is found here, not uninformed, emotional arguments that we all want to avoid.

In my opinion, Indiana is in a very interesting position and I think a lot of items may change in the coming weeks since the NCAA Final Four is in Indianapolis. It’s undoubtedly a major event that and I think it will test the response to this law fairly quickly. Additionally the NCAA is headquartered in Indianapolis and has concern regarding the law.

Honestly, geopolitical events affect a lot of FIRST and FRC’s operational areas. There are events in Israel and Australia, teams from China, Turkey and Brazil. All countries that represent a very diverse set of political beliefs. It’s a fact of life and really asks a question of will the community let politics and religion stop the advancement of STEM Education, a cause which we are all advocates for.

I hope the community is willing to check political and religious beliefs/arguments at the door of events and discussions in order to come here and move forward the one common cause that we all believe in.

For those who don’t think this discussion is relevant to FIRST, let me frame it in this way: Salesforce, a publicly traded company, has responded although its business interests aren’t substantially affected. That indicates that these politics are outside the realm of strict activism and into public debate for any institution.

Salesforce is a sponsor for an FRC team. Should that FRC team feel pressured to respond similarly?

If one of FIRST HQ’s Strategic Partners responded, should FIRST HQ feel pressured to respond similarly?

What values does FIRST stand for, do individual FRC teams stand for, and how are those values treated by this law?

But yeah this should be moved out of the General Forum

There are two things you never discuss during polite conversation. Religion and politics. This combines both.

While I support free and open speech, the political parties and media have turned politics into a one side hates the other debate. In all my years online, I have not once seen someone change their political viewpoint because of a discussion thread. Invariably it gets heated, then hateful.

While it’s a necessary part of life, and is relevant to certain parts of FIRST, it’s not one I want to deal with in conjunction with FRC in terms of a discussion about political viewpoints. I think it should stay off Chief Delphi.

In general, I would totally agree with “no politics” in FIRST, or on teams. But in this case, we can assume there are FRC students who are LGBT. Can a team, or indeed the entire FIRST community, ignore this situation? I am truly unsure.
I would also add that I would prefer NOT for this thread to discuss the merits of the bill itself, or of being LGBT; rather I am curious how an apolitical organization should respond to a political issue that could impact team members.
Also, I should state thatthis is just my question, and should not be taken to have anything to do with my associated team, which was unaware I would be starting this thread.

How do I move a thread?

Fair enough, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with starting this thread. Consider this. If we’re talking about political activism, I can think of things far more heinous that are going on and affect FRC. Especially now that FRC encompasses multiple countries, should be also be arguing about the Israel / Palestine issue, Chinese human rights violations, censorship, and lack of respect for intellectual property laws, etc? I don’t think so.

Tom Line is correct. I don’t think we should use FRC to try to affect a national debate on the LGBT/Religious Freedom issue - or any issue other than awareness and support for STEM education.
My question was a bit more practical - what should teams and the IRI do, if anything, to handle bringing LGBT students to Indiana this summer?

Should teams worry about regionals/off season events in the 30 other states that have the same law (including Illinois)?

The law in no way advocates or legalizes any form of discrimination. The misinformation and hyperbole surrounding this law is ridiculous – especially in context of similar laws in the majority of states and the federal government.

Please clarify or provide a source on this for the sake of this discussion.

Right. Look what happened when the GOP in Georgia tried to ‘clarify’ that their religious freedom measure was non-discriminatory:

During a Georgia House Judiciary Committee debate over the state’s new religious freedom bill, Rep. Mike Jacobs—a Republican!—called anti-gay legislators’ bluff. Jacobs proposed a simple amendment to the legislation clarifying that it must not be interpreted to legalize discrimination. Conservative representatives cried foul, asserting that an anti-discrimination amendment would defeat the purpose of the bill. When the amendment narrowly passed, conservatives quickly tabled the bill, postponing its consideration indefinitely. A religious freedom measure with an anti-discrimination provision, they decided, was not a real religious freedom measure at all.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2015/03/27/georgia_legislators_admit_religious_liberty_bill_is_about_discrimination.html

Honestly, if a law requires clarification that it’s not intended for discrimination, it probably isn’t a good idea to sign it.

Is this is an appropriate discussion for CD? That is for the list owner to decide. This is not a democracy. :slight_smile:

As for as First is concerned. They already have a code of conduct in place. I think that should be as for as it goes. You cannot be an advocate for everything. First’s mission is STEM.

As far as boycotting a state for what a subset of the people in the state think… I am not sure if I see the difference in that and the bill you are trying to boycott.

In terms of the issue. The conflict between individual’s free association rights and the non discrimination of another individual is complicated. I am not sure if it lends itself to a polite forum discussion.

I am very proud on how this thread as maintained a very Clear path. All of the current responders have shared some comments that are appropriate to this delicate subject. Delicate only because this subject can “Explode” and go down the wrong path.

As we all know there are some CD Users that are not mature enough to engage in a thread like this.

With that said - YES CD should be free as much as possible from politics, religion and any activity that may be disrespectful in any way to others.

I think it appropriate that the thread be closed at this point.

I trust that our legal system will address any and all issues related to this.