Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence has taken it upon himself to be the first translate the bigotry and hateful rhetoric of the Republican Party into action – for the second time this year. You may recall that Pence signed the first of the nation’s
“religious freedom” right-to-discriminate laws back in May, prompting an ocean of backlash as both civil society and the business world roundly condemned and boycotted the Hoosier State for his hypocrisy. Apparently not content with merely having one foot in his mouth, the man who discriminated against gays in the name of “family values” and Christian morals has ordered Indiana’s religious families to turn away two Syrian refugee families – who have spent the last three years being “vetted.”
The families were taken in by Connecticut, where Governor Dannel Malloy had some harsh words for Pence:
“This is the same guy who signed a homophobic bill in the spring surrounded by homophobes and protested how proud he was that he had done it. So I’m not surprised by anything the governor does. A bunch of governors got ahead of themselves, didn`t bother to do their homework, didn`t bother to understand what`s going on even in their own states and how hard this process is. And they jumped on a political bandwagon.”
Carleen Miller, executive director of Exodus Refugee Immigration, told The Indianapolis Star Wednesday that “I don’t think this represents Hoosiers as we’ve been overwhelmed with calls from supportive people wanting to help Syrian refugees. We need to have a welcoming message for refugees in this state.”
It is an outrageous hypocrisy to see Governor Pence invoke religious morality and Christian values to discriminate against LGBT Americans, and then turn his back on those very same “values” when it comes to families fleeing unspeakable violence. It goes to show just how hollow the Republican appeals to “traditional values” and religiousness really are, and if they really practiced what they preached, they would agree with the hundreds of religious organizations across America who have called for the right-wing to support the resettlement of Syrian refugees. The outpouring of bigotry and fearmongering from the Republican Party about the refugee crisis is absolutely disgusting, and shows a heartlessness and prejudice that goes against everything this country stands for.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.