Religious liberty bills are all the rage with regressive state lawmakers these days. So nobody should be surprised that Mississippi has drafted their own piece of garbage law to legalize discrimination. The State Senate passed HB1523 Wednesday night with a 31-17 vote. It had already cleared their House in February, where it will return before finding its way to the Governor’s desk.
Like other states’ bills, this one uses the term “religious liberty” as a stand-in for what it really is, the codification of Christianity. It will allow anyone to discriminate against people who might not share their particular brand of religion.
While the standard targets of these regressive state-sponsored religion laws, the LGBT community, will be affected most, the bill doesn’t stop there. It is meant to protect not only those who think “marriage is or should be recognized as the union between one man and one woman”, but also those who believe “sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.” It will allow organizations the ability to fire someone if they determine that employee’s beliefs or conduct are inconsistent with those of the organization. Atheists, transgender people, same-sex couples, even single mothers will lose their guarantee of equal protection under the law.
State Senator John Horhn provided necessary, if unheeded, dissent:
Where does this all end? Why do we keep doing this to ourselves, Mississippi? And we wonder why the rest of the world thinks so badly of us. It’s because of some things that we do that are unjust.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal averted an economic catastrophe by vetoing a similar regressive bill. Numerous companies threatened to boycott the state, including AMC, who film the wildly popular show, The Walking Dead, in the state. This seems to be the only way to combat all of these pro-hate bills that keep popping up in response to the Supreme Court upholding the rights of gay people to be treated like everyone else.
If churches and religious organizations are going to continue to have this kind of influence over our lives, isn’t it time they paid taxes?
Featured image via YouTube screen capture.