How Ron And Leslie Would React To Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law, As Read By Nick F*cking Offerman

Senior Pop Culture Editor
04.03.15 23 Comments

Remember when this was the biggest news coming out of Indiana? Those were the days. Ever since the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed, this crummy pizza joint has seen more heat than Justified‘s Pizza Portal. Wilco says they won’t play shows there, and Nick Offerman canceled most dates on his “Indiana Summer of 69 tour.” The act has also inspired nonsense like Russell Moore’s think-y piece in the Washington Post on “why Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope could agree on Indiana’s religious freedom law.”

In all the furor over Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, perhaps the answer to the culture war impasse won’t be found in Indianapolis but in Pawnee. Pawnee, of course, is the fictional town inhabited by long-running NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, which orbited around the often clashing visions of Parks director Ron Swanson and his crusading deputy Leslie Knope. The two could agree on little, but I think they could agree on Indiana’s RFRA as it originally passed, and so should we. (Via)

Yeah, about that. Offerman asked Michael Schur what Ron and Leslie would think of the RFRA because he’s Ron F*cking Swanson, that’s why. Here’s part of what the Parks creator (and our good friend) said, as read by Offerman:

I read one article that said confidently that both Leslie and Ron would have found things to like about the bill. To quote George F. Will, “This is nonsense on stilts.” Leslie Knope would have seen this bill for what it is, a carefully worded expertly constructed document that reminds gay, lesbian, and transgendered people that they are second class citizens. Leslie would have reminded us that recently as the late 1960s certain businesses tried sh*t like this, only they said God wanted only white people to eat in their restaurant. And she would have further reminded us that the Supreme Court had a good long laugh and told them to scram. Leslie would have said that while religious freedom is a basic and fundamental right, it is not more basic or more fundamental than the words “All men are created equal,” even though she would have then gone on a long rant about the use of the word men instead [unintelligible due to clapping]. And she might have also pointed out that religious freedom from government oppression is not the same thing as telling a gay couple you won’t bake them a cake to help them celebrate their desire to formalize their romantic love just because you get skeeved out by two dudes kissing. Then she would have told you to get over it for Christ sake, who you love is who you love, it’s 2015. She would have asked for people to recognize that every American citizen deserves respect. And that every citizen has to make small compromises in order to make room for everyone else. And finally Leslie would have asked that instead of passing bills that cloak basic intolerance in that nice sounding, but ultimately deceptive idea of religious freedom, maybe we should focus on passing laws that actually help people who, you know, have no food or jobs or something. Leslie would also be annoyed at herself for this final ad hominem attack on the bill we’re discussing, but she tended to get a little riled up and sometimes forgot her old debate club teachings.

As for Ron, he would have hated the bill because it was a bill made by the government. (Via)

In other words:

Maybe next time, Russell Moore.

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