Opinion

Democrats Get Tough With Government Run By Dangerous Religious Fanatics

W. James Antle III Managing Editor

There are two ways to deal with a government run by dangerous religious fanatics.

One is to isolate its leadership so their illiberal values don’t spread. This includes tough economic sanctions, travel bans and repeated denunciations by high-profile political figures. Encourage businesses to leave and not prop up the tyrannical government.

Another is to negotiate with the religious fanatics. Offer to ease sanctions in exchange for concessions, like inspections and restrictions on their capacity to threaten their neighbors.

Both approaches come with risks. Once isolated, the religious fanatics may become even more radical and dangerous. And when it comes to diplomacy, there’s always a chance you’ll be so desperate for a deal that you’ll give away the store without gaining conditions sufficient to neutralize the threat.

Fortunately, we can watch both of these strategies play out in real time. Talks with Iran have been extended in the hopes of curbing its nuclear program.

Indiana is facing escalating economic sanctions. Companies and celebrities are threatening not to do business there. The state’s hateful pizzerias are facing inspections.

Governments are also getting into the act. Connecticut, Washington and New York have all banned nonessential publicly funded travel to Indiana. So has the District of Columbia, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Portland, Oakland and other major cities.

No word on what the human rights community thinks about people being made to stay in Oakland.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is trying to convince Indiana businesses offended by their new religious law to cross state lines, even though Illinois has a Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy signed the executive order banning Nutmeg State-funded travel, even though it also has a Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — once blamed for the “Vote for Cuomo, not the homo” signs against Ed Koch (he denies it) — announced a similar ban even though he is getting ready to travel to Cuba. Cuba has no gay marriage, civil unions or domestic partnerships.

Of course, there are worst places in the world for gay rights. You know, this place or that place. Among other places.

Anyway, back to Indiana. It seems that the sanctions have brought the religious fanatics to the negotiating table. Gov. Mike Pence is pushing state lawmakers to “clarify” their new law.

Encouraging, but we must be careful. These religious fanatics are not rational actors. They want to usher in the end times. This may be some kind of trick.

We’re lucky the Democrats know how to deal with dangerous religious fanatics.

Indiana definitely will not acquire a nuclear bomb.

And nobody is calling for a preventive war for regime change in Indianapolis — yet.

W. James Antle III is managing editor of The Daily Caller and author of the book Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped? Follow him on Twitter.