The PJ Tatler

Gov. Kasich: No Religious Freedom Law for Ohio

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Ohio Governor Kasich, who is considering a presidential run, responded to a question last week about religious freedom laws like the ones that recently caused a stir in Indiana and Arkansas.

In his first remarks since the passage of the controversial laws, Kasich said on Thursday, “I think we’re doing fine in Ohio. Everybody’s opinion has to be respected in all of this and we have to strike a balance.” He added, “I think we have a good balance in Ohio and I don’t see a reason to do any more.”

Kasich, who voted for the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act when he was a member of Congress, said his position on the issue was based on his interpretation of Christianity.

“As a person of faith, I think one of the things that I always try to ask, (as) I think about myself, is, I like to focus a whole lot on the do’s of religion,” he said. “The do’s impose a real challenge to me — love those or pray for those who don’t like me. That’s a tough one for all of us. How many of you pray for your enemies?” Kasich asked in his typical confrontational style.

“The do’s are a very important part of faith for me. It doesn’t mean that don’ts don’t matter. But, I think we strike a balance pretty well in Ohio,” said Kasich.

The problem, of course, is that you can’t “strike a balance” when there is a collision of competing rights. When one person is demanding a wedding cake from a conscientious objector and another person is saying, “My faith constrains me from participating in a gay wedding,” there can only be an impasse. There is no middle ground when there are irreconcilable differences. Either Ohio (and the other states) will decide how the competing rights will be sorted out legislatively, or these matters will be decided by unelected judges an bureaucrats. Kasich, it seems, would prefer to take the easy way out. He’s like a modern-day Pontius Pilate who, rather than staking out a courageous position, symbolically washes his hands of the matter, allowing the mobs to do the dirty work for him.