A word about Indiana and Gen Con

  • Public

By balder Comments (127)

I have political opinions and beliefs. I stay informed, and I vote in every election. But I generally regard my opinions as private, and I especially do my best to keep them separate from Erfworld. This is a story, not a sermon, and I wouldn't want the fact that you and I disagree about something to ruin your enjoyment of the comic.


Once in a while, though, a situation bubbles up to the point where not saying something, not choosing to do something, is kind of a decision in itself. So I wanted to say that Erfworld will be exhibiting at Gen Con Indy again this year, despite the situation involving the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana.


Gen Con's staunch and public opposition to the law closely mirrors my own feelings on the matter. I feel better standing with them and helping them to continue to create a welcoming and fun event for everyone, than I would by avoiding (and diminishing) Gen Con. You can find us at booth #939 this year. Just look for this 3' x 5' banner, which I made from our 5-year anniversary graphic and ordered especially for this occasion:


see you at Gen Con Indy 2015


  • Keighvin1


  • ArtyD

    Will be there with hope that I can spend me some Shmuckers.

  • multilis

    I think biggest issue with situations like this is not to be a hypocrite.  

    Example - if you think it is wrong to vote for someone just because his skin color is white, then also wrong to do so just because skin color is black.  If wrong to have a "White Entertainment Television" then also wrong to have a "Black Entertainment Television".  Ivory or Ebony magazine, etc.

    If you think it is wrong to discredit a political leader just because an atheist (recent Australia PM), then similar with saying PM is bad entirely on what you claim private religious beliefs (current Canadian PM).   If wrong to say "can't be trusted for anything" if believes in evolution then similar with someone who thinks a god made things that way (if humans create stuff "progressively" such as Windows, Mac, Linux OS each incremental improvements then someone could claim same for a god/more powerful being...  for all we know we could live inside a computer simulation just as Erfworld could be a computer simulation.

    If you say guys in indiana law are wrong, you also saying you are wrong if you refuse to serve if scientology, mormons, polygamy, or perhaps in future people who wish to marry an animal, such as a genetically modified ape.  As far as cultures go, much of africa is pro-polyamy, anti same sex, china is anti both polygamy and same sex, some cultures would argue BSDM including "50 shades of grey" is many times more abhorant than polygamy...  matter of what current culture decides is good, and it is not really always about logic - eg as far as "born that way" (genetically favoured by natural selection) logic, polygamy has huge edge, and "same sex" is an around same league as religious views, desire to have sex with animals, etc....  I live on a farm and seen around more animals desire sex with a different species then sex with same gender of same species  - I have seen both.

    So if you are fully non discriminatory towards a Scientology/Mormon/Jehovahs Witness wanting you to do art for his wedding, or if legal in 20 years:  a harem of 4 different wives, or if legal a genetically engineered ape or a female dog bread specifically to always enjoy sex with humans, then seems very fair, reasonable.  If not then perhaps you should also look in mirror.

    Similar with being critical of other styles of life...   if you think it is ok for Margrett Attwood to write "A handmaids Tale" which suggests religious right desires harems of concubines to rape in totaltarian goverment "Jesusland" (best selling book), then also ok if other political side writer does similar speculative fiction where a totaltarian government "gayland" has homosexuals rape harems of concubines.  (Basic instinct movie originally had large protests by gay community as being "hate inducing" to their group)

    Most important detail imo is that the lady holding the scales of justice is blind.  If so everyone can find a way to work with the laws.



  • From wiki's first sentence: "a law in the U.S. state of Indiana, which allows individuals and companies to assert that their exercise of religion"

    What an awful piece of legislation... you cannot just put word together and call it a law... poetry maybe... of a rather dark and surrealistic tone but... How on earth can a company have a religion? How is it that an abstract concept (company) that barely qualifies as a person in a very narrow interpretation of what a person is can claim right to an opinion that is of concern only to actual people (and even then only if things  such as souls and gods exist) and use it to commit discrimination.

    It's demeaning for religion (and I'm agnostic! I usually don't care about religion much), insulting for religious people and, of course, it aggravates a social issue which is so very very stupid for a law as you'd expect government to proliferate in way that diminish discrimination and help people progress toward acceptation.

    And that's just about how infuriating the first sentence of the damn article is. It's actually all downhill from there...

    Hey thanks Mr. Balder for sharing this. It's nice to expands one's social conscience and always interesting to learn about something new to reprobate.

  • Swagner

    I oppose anti-discrimination laws myself, on the grounds that if a business wants to deprive itself of profits because of the owners' beliefs (especially if those taking such action are a superminority such as those in question here), that should be its right. Forcing people to act against their beliefs only makes martyrs of them, and does nothing but hurt the image of those who, through association, gain a reputation as demanding celebration instead of equal treatment. Communal guilt-trips should be enough, allowing private individuals to force other private individuals to work for them (without any prior obligation) sets a bad precedent.

  • multilis

    Every side can give examples about how other side is bad

    1) athiest - look at religious crusades, and various wars over religion.

    2) religionist - look at Pot Pot, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, all after a "star trek" like utopia based on their atheist views but ending in horrors.

    3) anti polygamist - look at this cult guy with his harem of wives. (basis for A Handmaid's Tale type of fiction)

    4) anti gay- look at Ernest Rohm and similar examples (could be basis of gay negative utopia similar to handmaid's tale.)


    Every side can give examples of how their side supposedly makes world better place:

    "Let it be" beetles song on catholic view of make world better

    "Imagine" beetles song on atheist view of make world better

     Rainbow - same sex symbol of "including everyone"


    I see people commonly complain other side are bigots while they do mirror image same thing.


  • BiSp2001

    I applause you too to this dission.

    Also: Holy Shit! Is this the 4th Arkentool?!?!

  • ManaCaster

    Personally, I feel that if a company is stupid enough to deny themselves customers, then they should have the right to do so. Similarly, I can exercise my right not to spend my wallet at that place. In the end, they are hurting themselves more than anyone else. So long as they don't hold a monopoly, I can just spend my money on a superior service.

    Policing morality can get a little dangerous. It starts with something everyone can agree on, and eventually, given enough time, there is the strong risk everyone will also agree that other behaviors should be banned. Including rights once taken for granted.

  • Squall83

    Well done, Rob! This was definitely the right choice.

    I don't think people should feel themselves burdened in excercising their own religion just because they have to be around gay people. The burden comes from their own primitive minds, because God himself has no such problem and loves and torelates everyone infinitely.

    Dear LGBT haters,
    your sins are forgiven. :)


    Btw: From experience I know that political threads tend to become very long, and so do threads about religion. I am going to get some popcorn now. cool

  • multilis

    "How on earth can a company have a religion?"

    One of easiest things in world.   Many churches, temples, mosques, are owned by incorporated company/non profit, is legal way to take care of control when individual humans die.  Similar that many have a theme of some sort of religion.

    most common current conflict is "same sex wedding" in "church"

    If you extend the definition of religion, you can alo have very similar strong beliefs in atheistic groups (buddhists much of time have no god, so not hard to say same of atheists) and even topics such as "global warming" and "Mac OS" can start taking on almost religious type behavior.  Eg grey area if "Pot Pot" mixture of atheist and buddhist  views is religion or just politics.

  • multilis

    You can have a book store that specializes in "Christian books" and goods.  You can have similar that specialises in "atheist" books (eg dawkings).  Similar for dating sites, one that specialises in finding a "Christian" mate, "Atheist" mate, "Gay" mate, etc.  You can have classified ads and regular ads in any of these.

    So for example you could have a catholic magazine owned by a company and a mormon or homosexual group wishes to place an big paid ad in it.



  • multilis

    This site has ads.   Scientology sells books.   So should it be required that if scientology wishes to advertise a book themed on erfworld ideas, that owner of site has to allow them here?  Or can this "company"/Person deny to a religion which is protected by constitution as do not discriminate against?

  • Man in the Mists

    So if a grocery store in rural Inidana refuses to allow a gay couple to shop there, and they're the only store in town, that's okay?  What about the only gas station?  Or the only hospital?

    It's easy to say, "Oh, just go elsewhere" when you're in a big city.  In rural areas, that is often not an option.

  • Having a religion is an act of faith, selling faith-related items is not the same as being faithful (as Jesus, flipping tables in a temple, might have argued). An economic (or social for that mater) consctruct cannot have faith, even if every member of the organization can share the same religion if doesn't mean the organization has faith. I'll accept this if said religion says companies have a soul, but most religions would disagree.

    Even a religious group as a group doesn't have faith. Faith/beliefs is a thing for humans. Construct cannot exert faith as faith is intrinsically an act of the soul. I'd argue that even the Roman Catholic Church (or whichever organised religion you want) as an organisation doesn't have faith in a sense.

    [sarcasm]Please let me discriminate against companies, it's part of my religion. [/sarcasm]

    I like John Oliver's take on this + it's hilarious:  youtube.com/watch?v=zSQCH1qyIDo

  • Pengwen

    I love the banner and the message of being inclusive!  Any way that could be put into wallpaper sizes?

  • multilis

    " I'll accept this if said religion says companies have a soul, but most religions would disagree."

    So you feel a catholic church does not have a religion?  Or a "christian"/"buddhist" book store does not have a religion?

    Quite a few religions out there that do not believe that a soul exists after a human dies.  At same time you have atheist/agnostic types who believe on souls that live on after death.   You can have hybrid views like "Star Wars" where you can only if you reach some sort of buddhist style of oneness with universe.  You can have fiction with big question about whether robots have souls.

    One style of religion is that when you die you die, nothing lives on.  Another style is you are in non-existance, but "god" can remember what you were and basically create an exact clone later as a resurrection from being non-existance.

    We can also go into star trek ethics... Data is a robot made by a human, does he have a soul, does he have human rights... is entire star trek episode dedicated to topic.


    "Only food store in town" - one type of compromise is to say that "essential services"/when no good alternatives then have to serve everyone.  So for example if Erfworld was google sized domination of webcomics then he would have to host Scientology ads.  But a "catholic church" would not have to host a scientology wedding.

  • multilis

    (So "essential services" would apply to main food store in town, but not to a church, athiest themed meeting hall)

  • multilis

    (fyi:  there are athiest themed meeting halls and web forums that are equivalent of churches, and also some of the "satanic churches" consider themselves basically atheists and trace their origins to some sort of pagan idea rather than "christain"... was a recent news article where they were explaining selves, and you see lots of atheists on internet forums who like to add 666 or 999 to their user names to signal to others their religion while they basically follow atheist views)

  • multilis

    I once remember listening to discussion with brother of person I worked for who is currently gay (he used to have wife and kids but divorced wife).  His view was for non essential stuff was "going to far", not worth it, more harm then good.  That was perhaps 5+ years ago when main discussion was legality of gay marriage.

  • Draken09

    I would have thought this stance obvious, on account of relationships in Erfworld such as the ever-complication-inducing history between Jilian and Wanda. That said, it can be nice for these things to be explicitly stated.

  • Glynth

    Re: businesses can't have religion: Corporations are people. I know some like to act like this is crazy nonsense and rail on the Supreme Court for ruling that way, but it's just a fact. A group of people are people. Corporations are groups of people. That's it. Even if that weren't the case, you're basically arguing that a person's rights don't exist once they belong to a group. Now THAT is nonsense.

  • Heathen Power

    Good on ya' Rob.

  • Coranho

    Where is your basic human decency exactly? Every single time someone expresses an opinion that is contrary to homosexuality, they are maliciously targeted with threats of death and violence.

    You have no right to publicly express homosexual behavior if you do not respect the right of others to publicly express heterosexual behavior.


    You have no right to expect an atmosphere of non-violence and tolerance if you are not willing to provide one in turn.


    You have no right to uphold a belief system that you consider inviolate (for example "homosexuality is natural") if you do not respect others upholding a belief system that may disagree with you (for example: "homosexuality is a sin").


    This is basic human decency, this is respect for the individual, this is upholding the very concept of freedom of thought, action, emotion, and belief in situations that do involve physical aggression.


    And physical aggression exists - reports of violence against homosexuals are near-equal to reports of violence against heterosexuals (some gay pride marchers have even abandoned the demonstration of their cause to assault pastors on the sidewalk).


    I've been called homophobic for the act of not supporting homosexuality even though I acknowledge the basic freedom of man to choose their own path; I've been threatened for it. By this logic, heterophobia must also exist. (If homophobia is "an attitude that is against homosexuality" then "threatening someone with violence for that attitude" is "being afraid of freedom itself"; and if you're afraid of freedom, then you're also afraid of anything that results from freedom - including sexual acts). This is not to say I believe the "phobia" line, it's utterly ridiculous and uses circular logic. However if it's used, please accept the "logic" to it's fullest extent - if homophobia exists, then it's opposite exists as well.


    If I don't want to cater a homosexual wedding, is it really worth throwing your entire "big day" off-kilter to sue me? It's not like I'm denying to cater any and all events for you - and if I don't want to host a homosexual wedding, it's not like I'm denying you access to whatever restaurant I may own. I'm just expecting you to respect the rules of my establishment that everyone else has to follow to; if it's such a big deal for you, why are you trying to give me your money anyway?

  • Coranho

    do not involve violence*. Goodness, that was a bad typo :P not sure I can edit my post.

  • Peeling

    A few here are overcomplicating things.

    If I were a general store owner, you could not legally compel me to stock communion wafers (or halal meat)

    However, if I stocked pencils, you could legally compel me to serve someone who is catholic or muslim who wants to buy a pencil.

    If I ran a website that served ads, you could not legally compel me to serve Scientology ads.

    However, if I routinely ran ads for real-estate, you could sue me for refusing to serve a real-estate ad on the grounds that the realtor was a scientologist.

    The distinction is fairly clear-cut: If I offer a particular service or product I am not allowed to deny you that service or product simply because of my opinion of your beliefs or gender or sexual orientation. Conversely, for the most part I am not required to provide you with the services or products you may happen to want. There are some exceptions (eg providing disabled access).