When President Bill Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993, the law had broad support in both major political parties and was widely perceived as an expression of a pluralistic society's tolerance. When Gov. Mike Pence signed Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week, the law became a bitterly partisan issue, denounced by Democrats across the country as an instrument of bigotry.
Jacob Sullum says this dramatic shift in attitudes has less to do with the substance of the statute than with the perceived motives of its supporters. Sullum argues that progressives who used to defend religious freedom have turned against it because they see it as a cover for conservative causes.