Indiana State Senate candidate J.D. Ford (D), who is openly gay, was recently accused of persecuting religious people when he was questioned about businesses being able to discriminate against people based on religious beliefs.
According to the Indy Star, during a candidates forum on Oct. 21 moderator Amos Brown asked Ford: "There is talk about the introduction of a 'Religious Freedom Act' in the upcoming session. Under what circumstances should someone (or a business) reasonably be allowed to refuse service to an individual on the basis of 'religious freedom?'"
"For example, if someone claims that their religion prohibits divorce, should that person be able to refuse to do business with or hire someone who is divorced?" asked Brown.
In response, Ford said, "It's interesting, you just heard my opponent, he's always talking about Judeo Christian and pushing it on to you and all of a sudden he's backing away from this particular issue."
"I think if that's the case, then those businesses need to hire their own private security. I think those businesses need to have a pail for water to put out their own fire," said Ford. "So, those are public resources that we provide to those businesses. So I would not be in support of that."
The conservative Christian Indiana Family Institute circulated an edited video (below) of Ford's comments and wrote on its website:
I ask, Mr. Ford, if a Jewish printer doesn't want to print signs for a gay rights rally that promotes behavior contrary to the Hebrew Scriptures (what Christians call the Old Testament), his or her business should burn if it catches fire?
Christian ministry Focus on the Family's political arm CitizenLink ran even a more edited version of the video clip (below) and dubbed it "The Ford Let It Burn Doctrine."
CitizenLink added some scary fire pictures and strongly suggested that Christian businesses would really be allowed to burn down if Ford had his way.
Ford's opponent incumbent State Sen. Mike Delph (R) told the Indy Star, "I was saddened to hear him express such intolerance for those of us that hold deep religious conviction. Religious liberty is a fundamental American ideal."
However, Ford told the Indy Star exactly what he meant: "I don't think businesses should discriminate based on race, gender or sexual orientation. Public services do not discriminate. I was trying make that comparison there."
The hysteria and smear seemed to work as Ford lost to Delph, who strongly opposes gay marriage rights, on Tuesday, noted WISH.
In February, Delph went on a tirade against gay rights on Twitter, reported WISH.