Observing from afar the clamor over Indiana’s new religious freedom law, we in higher education are especially attuned to how that state’s colleges and universities have responded.
First, some background. The Indiana law differs in modest, but I think, important and helpful ways from its federal counterpart, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. RFRA, which was passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority, has since been replicated by a number of states—including, by the way, Illinois, with then-State Senator Barack Obama joining all his colleagues in favor in 1998.
There has been plenty of commentary about why so many people have reacted so negatively, but let’s zero in on where Indiana’s college and universities, mostly through statements by their presidents, have come down.