The good thing about the social media age is that there's a plethora of information available on any given subject at any given time from any given number of people.

The bad thing is that most of those people prefer to react quickly, failing to consider most issues from all appropriate angles.

I'm as guilty of this as most, I suppose. I pound my fist in outrage more often than I should.

But as each year passes, I find myself becoming more measured, understanding that most issues aren't black or white, but rather some shade of gray.

Indiana made news this week with the passage of the Religious Freedom Bill, which essentially aims to allow businesses to discriminate or not do business with people they don't want to do business with.

As I scrolled through my Facebook feed and saw the predictable vitriol, I took time to try and consider the issue. Is this the most evil piece of legislation ever brought about? Does it have some merit?

This week, I picked an argument with anyone who would listen to me. I find this to be a useful tool in fleshing out my feelings on a topic. I took both sides and tried to argue with merit each side like I was back in a high school debate class.

Perhaps government shouldn't be in the business of telling small business owners who to do business with, I'd say. So long as that business operates on its own property and doesn't receive tax breaks or anything like that, who are we to compel people to do business with those they choose not to associate with, whether we like it or not?

Other times, I'd point out how a bill like this drags Indiana back into the stone age, much like it's ridiculous debate over gay marriage. While the rest of the country is progressing on these social issues, Indiana seems to keep wanting to move in the other direction.

For a short time in 2010, my wife and I operated a small business. Given that, I'm somewhat sensitive to the challenges associated with running a business. Back then, I wouldn't have wanted anyone from the government to come in and tell me how to do things any more than I'd want them to come into my home.

However, that doesn't mean discrimination is OK. On some level, I feel like outing the bigots would be a productive component of any such bill. If we could find out who among us feels that way, it makes it easier to avoid them.

But legislating discrimination? Yeah, I just can't be OK with that and it seems like most others can't, either. There have already been reports about events slated for Indiana pulling out, as well as businesses pledging to leave the state. Over time, we'll see how this all plays out.

What's clear, though, is Indiana is gaining the wrong type of reputation and it's embarrassing. We just have to do better.

Contact Managing Editor Adam Parkhouse at aparkhouse@thenewsdispatch.com or 1-219-214-4170.

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