In most people’s minds, “NASCAR” means “redneck.” And if that’s true, then Indiana is WAY behind the times with its Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed into law last week by Gov. Mike Pence, because even NASCAR is condemning the law.
NASCAR, the second most-viewed sports franchise, next only to the NFL, today (Tuesday, March 31) issued a strongly worded statement against the law — which is “important for a sport almost synonymous with Indianapolis,” TheNewCivilRightsMovement.com noted (Indianapolis Motor Speedway, anyone?).
Brett Jewkes, senior vice president and chief communications officer for the racing organization, said, “NASCAR is disappointed by the recent legislation passed in Indiana. We will not embrace nor participate in exclusion or intolerance. We are committed to diversity and inclusion within our sport and therefore will continue to welcome all competitors and fans at our events in the state of Indiana and anywhere else we race.
“For 105 years the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has engaged millions who want to celebrate the true spirit of American racing. IMS will continue to warmly welcome all who share our enthusiasm for motorsports — employees, participants and fans,” Jewkes said.
Pence — who has steadfastly maintained the law is intended to protect religious freedom and not to discriminate against anyone — today called for follow-up legislation to “clarify” the RFRA. I guess that means he wants a bill that specifically says it is alright for so-called “Christians” to discriminate against LGBTs (or anyone else who offends their religious sensibilities), but it’s not ok for anyone to use their religious beliefs to discriminate against Christians; I mean, after all, that IS what he the the Indiana lawmakers meant when they passed the RFRA, right?
Other businesses and governmental entities to come out against Indiana’s RFRA include Starbucks (which issued this statement Monday, March 30: “We join with others opposing any state or federal legislation that permits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and encourage policymakers everywhere to embrace equality”) and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (who on Monday signed an executive order forbidding state-funded travel to Indiana, saying his administration is “sending a message that discrimination won’t be tolerated”).
Check CNN Money for a list of other businesses, etc., who have spoken out against the bill, and what they said.