The Religious Liberty Bill Fight Continues in Georgia and Other States

The Religious Liberty Bill Fight Continues in Georgia and Other States

bible-american-flag1With a defeat in Kansas and now a defeat in Arizona, the “religious liberty” movement gets set for Battleground: Georgia, with other states soon to follow, including Missouri, Mississippi, and Oklahoma.

Democratic state Rep. Stacey Abrams is the House minority leader for the Georgia General Assembly co-wrote an op-ed for CNN yesterday with conservative James Richardson, pointing out that Georgia “may shift from the cradle of the civil rights movement to the vanguard of legalized 21st-century bigotry with the consideration of this legislation, modeled on Arizona’s, that would allow businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian customers on the basis of alleged religious conviction.” Abrams and Richardson wrote that should the bill become law, Georgia will be stained with the “lasting ignominy of Jim Crow.”

Jim Crow hits the nail on the head. As Ian Millhiser wrote the other day on ThinkProgress, “religious liberty” was once “used to justify racism instead of homophobia.”

And don’t count the collective religious insanity of Kansas and its governor out just yet. According to The New York Times, Kansas’ extreme antigay bill may be revived. Mississippi’s bill has already passed the State Senate.

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The Republican establishment has led the retreat from these hateful and hurtful pieces of legislation, as have Republican businesses owners and even chambers of commerce, leaving in their wake Nazified crowds of Religious Right and Tea Party bigots.

You would think, listening to them, that rather than a bill that persecutes gays being vetoed, a bill that persecutes Christians had been signed into law.

The Family Research Council (FRC) claims that the vetoed bill “should have been a political no-brainer.” That no brains had something to do with the bill I think we can agree with. The FRC claims, with a straight face yet, that “by vetoing this bill Gov. Brewer is saying she supports government discrimination against people’s religious freedoms.”

The Tea Party Nation’s Judson Phillips, opined on his group’s website that Jan Brewer’s veto turned discriminatory business owners into “slaves,” saying that “The left and the homosexual lobby are both pushing slavery using the Orwellian concepts of ‘tolerance’ and ‘inclusiveness.'” Phillips is afraid people will be forced to bake penis cakes for gay couples.

Who knew tolerance was Orwellian? Did you know that? I didn’t know that. I’m pretty sure penis cakes aren’t.

Rush Limbaugh differed from Phillips only in the direction of his paranoia, saying on his radio program that the Arizona bill was vetoed because, “There’s just abject fear of minorities right now.” He should have added fear of penis cakes.

It is difficult to tell whether the bill’s proponents (whatever state they are in), are stupid, insane, or just the most intellectually dishonest people in the entire history of the planet. Perhaps all three. Look again at Judson Phillips for an example of where these peoples’ heads are at (and no, it’s not something you want to discuss in public):

SB1062 is a bigger story than simply the story of a cowardly governor who has no core beliefs.

SB1062 is the story of liberalism at work in America.

Liberalism is the paranoid belief that leftists have that somewhere, someone may be thinking for themselves. It is the tyrannical belief that no deviation in belief is allowed from the decreed orthodoxy.

It is the antithesis of liberty.

It is tyranny on the march.

Oh dear…

Whatever ails them, they are a scary bunch. I know they are not reading the same Constitution I am. Judson Phillips is not alone in eagerly and publicly displaying his ignorance of the Constitution. I observed here yesterday that The Williams Tea Party of Coconino County posted on their website:

The First Amendment was meant only to protect the Christian faith. When the founders spoke of religion, they meant the Christian religion. They did not have to keep saying the Christian religion because everyone knew that is what they were talking about.

That link is dead today. Maybe somebody passed them a copy of the First Amendment, which says, in full,

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It says nothing at all, you will observe, about any particular religion, including Christianity. And as I demonstrated here yesterday, religion, in the 18th century at least, was not synonymous with “the Christian religion” and even if it was, if “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” then Congress is forbidden from establishing “the Christian religion.” That’s my reading. It’s an epic fail for the Williams Tea Party of Coconino County.

Meanwhile, to get back to Georgia, Abrams and Richardson tell us that,

Two bills exist, one in each chamber: Boosters of the House measure, House Bill 1023, have soft-pedaled the issue, but the sponsor of the Senate proposal, Senate Bill 377, griped this week that the only opponents to his legislation are those advocating “militant atheism,” whatever that is.

As was the case in Arizona, “The legislation is so vague that it’s not merely limited to individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender: It could even be used as a means to discriminate against unmarried women and people of different faiths.”

Fortunately, the Georgia bills may have hit a roadblock with the senate bill not getting on the calendar, and the House bill may not make it out of committee.

Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) sponsored the Georgia senate bill is already citing “bullying” as the cause if his bill fails. But critics of these bills can read as well as the next guy: Establishment Republicans understand the threat of such bills to big corporations in their states. Apple, Marriot, and the NFL, and Delta Airlines in Georgia, have all expressed their opposition on job and economic grounds. The extremist response is to denounce these corporations which they would otherwise be lining up defend.

And the Religious Right’s response to all this? Well, it has got to be a “Satanic, socialist conspiracy to homosexualize the world” says Scott Lively.

Yeah, you stick with that, Scott. That’ll win some elections in 2014. That and alerting the world that President Obama is “behind plot to unleash gay ‘homo’ demons on black men.” Maybe those “gay homo demons” will even force Judson Phillips to bake that penis cake he is obsessing over.

Good times.

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