Steel Magnolias: Mississippi Defies Left, Protects Freedom

Barb Wire

By Tony Perkins

Family Research Council – Thanks to Mississippi’s leaders, the latest bill to pass out of the legislature doesn’t just add God to the state flag — it adds Him back into the equation for business and organization leaders. Just a few weeks removed from the Arizona religious liberty debate, Mississippi managed to do what Governor Jan Brewer (R) wouldn’t: support a measure that would protect the rights of citizens to protect their religious beliefs against government hostility. The Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, almost the same bill Arizona walked away from, passed overwhelmingly in the Magnolia State, where leaders refused to be bullied by homosexual activists and operated on fact — not media distortions.

Unlike Arizona’s leaders, Mississippi officials read the law, didn’t listen to the hype, and as a result, they are one signature away from common sense religious protections that 18 other states already have. Late last night, SB 2681 cruised through the state House (79-43) and Senate (37-14) to Governor Phil Bryant’s (R) desk, where it’s expected to be signed. The victory was a huge one for FRC, who worked with local churches and conservative policy organizations to coordinate a pastors’ letter in support of the measures with more than 600 signatures. That, in turn, helped to bring along the business community — which, in Arizona, was so deceived by the media and outside leftist groups that it couldn’t distinguish what the bill actually did. Mississippi companies didn’t have that problem, because the state tuned out the propaganda and focused on the actual language.

Whether it’s someone like Pastor Telsa DeBerry who was hindered by the Holly Springs city government from building a new church in the downtown area, or a wedding vendor, whose orthodox Christian faith won’t allow her to affirm same-sex “marriage,” SB 2681 would stop the government from infringing on religious exercise. The Founders, who came to America to live their lives, every aspect of their lives according to the teachings of their faith, never envisioned a government forcing Americans to choose between the basic teachings of their faith and losing their livelihood. We applaud Governor Phil Bryant, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves, House Speaker Philip Gunn, and Senator Phillip Gandy, the bill’s sponsor, for their leadership to defend religious freedom and for refusing to cower to egregious misrepresentations of a fair and reasonable religious liberty measure.

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Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law.

(Via FRC’s Washington Update)

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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