Tim Cook Calls 'Religious Freedom' Legislation 'Very Dangerous'

Apple CEO Tim Cook has called recent "religious freedom" legislation passed in Indiana and Arkansas "very dangerous" in a public op-ed letter published by The Washington Post. Cook argues that there are nearly 100 pro-discrimination bills in the United States that "go against the very principles" the country was founded on and "have the potential to undo decades of progress towards greater equality."

Tim Cook
Cook's letter comes in response to Indiana governor Mike Pence passing the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act last week, following intense opposition from opponents that believe the bill supports discrimination, particularly against gays and lesbians. The bill, based on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, takes effect July 1st.

"America’s business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business," said Cook. "At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers’ lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That’s why, on behalf of Apple, I’m standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges. I’m writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement. From North Carolina to Nevada, these bills under consideration truly will hurt jobs, growth and the economic vibrancy of parts of the country where a 21st-century economy was once welcomed with open arms."

Cook believes that the recently passed legislation in Indiana and Arkansas, and similar bills being considered in other states, draw comparisons to the days of segregation in the United States, adding that Apple will never tolerate discrimination regardless of the laws passed. "This isn’t a political issue. It isn’t a religious issue," he said. "This is about how we treat each other as human beings."

"Our message, to people around the country and around the world, is this: Apple is open. Open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love. Regardless of what the law might allow in Indiana or Arkansas, we will never tolerate discrimination."

Cook tweeted last week that Apple is "open for everyone" and "deeply disappointed in Indiana's new law," calling on Arkansas to veto its similar HB1228 bill. Indiana has received a lot of backlash for signing the bill, with several organizations and companies throughout the United States vowing to stop supporting the state.

Cook has remained committed to equality in the workplace as chief executive at Apple. In November 2013, he publicly supported the U.S. Employment Nondiscrimination Act, legislation proposed to prohibit many civilian, nonreligious employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity for the purposes of hiring or other employment practices.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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