Why everyone seems to be confused about the word "freedom" and are blaming the wrong people.

          Recently there has been a political firestorm over the passing of Indiana's Protect Religious Freedom Act. Most people see this as the state supporting discrimination, and expect the government to protect people from such acts. They are asking for the repeal of such an "unAmerican" and uncivil law. While they are right in saying we should be free from discrimination of all kind as a society, they are going about it all wrong and overlooking their own hypocrisy in doing so.
          Now how can I say these people are being hypocrites when I also say they are right and agree with their views? Because they are either blinded by their sense of "justice" to what they are doing, or accept it since they are "doing what is right". That problem is looking to the government to make everything better. In it's purest form, all this is doing is removing forced restrictions to allow people to exercise their Constitutionally protected freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of choice.
          First let's define freedom, as it is a word that seems to be often misused in today's society. Freedom is not just freedom for what you think is right, ethical, or moral... freedom is freedom for all points of view regardless of how immoral, unethical, or evil you think they are. I think most well-educated people can agree that discrimination is bad, regardless of it being based on race, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual preference, or any other factor. The ugly truth is, it exists.
          Second, who's job is it to stop discrimination? Here's where the debate exists and the hypocrisy enters. If the government creates laws to stop discrimination, aren't they taking away the freedom of speech and choice from the bigots. Sure it's done with the best intentions, but do two wrongs really make a right in this case? I think the biggest thing to realize here is the fact that just because something is legal, does not mean that it is condoned by the government or the people.
          So that begs the question, how do we stop these atrocities without infringing upon the rights or anyone? The solution, which most people do not want to hear, is up to each individual. We as a nation need to stop giving the government so much power and control over our lives, and take responsibility for ourselves. Don't cry to the government to intervene in private businesses and force people to think or something they don't want to. Find out what businesses are denying their service to others based on some form of discrimination, and boycott them. Call them out on social media (at first in a calm and respectful matter). Give them the chance to say if it was the response of one employee, or their business practice. Then slightly increase the pressure if they defend that employee or practice, while staying away from any type of violent threats (again, two wrongs don't make a right regardless of the intent).
          This is the United States of America, and you are free. Free to not give your time, attention, and money to those you disagree with. You are free to ignore them completely, and go to a competitor that is more customer friendly, or even to open your own competing business. Take advantage of the fact that other businesses are turning away customers, and give those people an option. If done properly, you'll gain all the business those bigoted companies have turned away, and probably gain some additional business from others who support your cause. Then you've solved the problem on your own, not through creating laws or crying to the government, but by putting those "evil" businesses out of business without having to attack, threaten, or coerce them in any way, shape, or form.
          Take responsibility. Take action. Take a stand. Fighting for what you believe in doesn't mean you have to invoke any hate or rage, and you don't have to get into any battles, be they verbal, physical, or any other kind. It can be as easy as going to a different store. Sure that store may be out of the way, more expensive, or lower quality... but that's the choice you have to make yourself. Just make sure you don't end up discriminating against anyone yourself. Not all religious people are against homosexuality. In fact, the pope himself has asked the catholic church to be more accepting toward "unconventional" families. Just as not all Muslims are terrorists, not all Catholics are bigots hiding behind the Bible or using their religion as an excuse. And as evidence by the the Indianapolis Star, as well as the many protests from it's citizens, not all residents from Indiana are prejudice against the LGBT community. Accept the fact that their freedom is just as important as yours. Because if we continue to give away those freedoms and give the government control over how we should live, think, and act, then it's only a matter of time before they overstep those bounds and start revoking even more of our freedoms in the name of forming a "decent society".

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