BREAKING: Irma Continues Westward Shift, Putting More of the South in Its Path

As the massive, deadly Hurricane Irma bears down on the Caribbean, the storm is taking a turn toward the Southeastern United States. Its path has shifted westward, putting more of Florida and the South in its path.

Last night, Storm Surge Warnings for the Keys and South Florida released:

In Florida, Governor Rick Scott urged citizens throughout the state to head for safer ground as Irma is appearing to take a straight path up the peninsula of the state.

“If you live in any evacuation zones and you’re still at home, leave!” Scott warned Floridians at a news conference Thursday. “Do not try to ride out this storm … we can’t save you once the storm hits.”

Evacuees have headed north from Florida into Georgia, where traffic is heavy and stores as far north as metro Atlanta are running out of bottled water and other staples. Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia has issued a mandatory evacuation order for anyone east of Interstate 95 and declared a state of emergency for 30 counties in the southeastern part of the state. These evacuations will add to the traffic burden in middle Georgia and metro Atlanta, both of which are also along Irma’s projected trajectory.

Forecasters say that Irma shows signs of little weakening as it turns toward Florida. Pray for everyone in Irma’s path, and if you live in the Southeast – especially along the coast – pay attention to weather reports all weekend long.

After Flip-Flop, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal Signs Campus Carry into Law

Georgia is the latest state to pass legislation allowing for campus carry on its public universities and colleges. Along with the Peach State, Arkansas passed similar legislation earlier this year that also permits campus carry on its public colleges and universities.

On Thursday, Governor Nathan Deal (R-GA) signed House Bill 280  into law. It will also go into effect on July 1, 2017.

“At the present time, assailants can, and do, target these students knowing full well that their victims are not permitted to carry protection,” Deal said, “even those who are weapons carry license holders, because they are either going to or coming from a campus where no weapons are allowed.”

This is a 180 degree shift from last year when Deal vetoed similar legislation. What explains his change of heart? Likely the 2016 election and perhaps the realization that campus carry will make campuses a safer place. Here’s more on the legislation that was passed:

House Bill 280 would allow anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry firearms on public college and university campuses, with exceptions that include dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses, and buildings used for athletic events. On-campus child care centers would also be excluded, as would areas on some college campuses where high school students attend class.

Current law in Georgia states that anyone in possession of a gun outside their vehicle on public universities – even with concealed carry permits in tow — is subject to a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail. When this law goes into effect on July 1, 2017, anyone in possession of a gun in gun-free zones, they’ll only face a misdemeanor and be fined fined $25 for their first offense.

Georgia is the tenth state to permit campus carry in the U.S. Here’s more on the current status of firearms on American campuses:

Because of  recent state legislation and court rulings, 10 states now have provisions allowing the carrying of concealed weapons on public postsecondary campuses. These states are Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. Not included in above list, Tennessee allows faculty members with licenses to carry weapons on campus but the law does not extend to students or the general public.

Utah remains the only state to have statute specifically naming public colleges and universities as public entities that do not have the authority to ban concealed carry, and thus, all 10 public institutions in Utah allow concealed weapons on their property.

Glad Governor Nathan Deal came to his senses and signed this important legislation into law. Hopefully more states can witness similar legislation.

Republican Leaders in Georgia Put the Gay Agenda Ahead of Children

Republican leaders in the state of Georgia have decided to put the gay agenda ahead of children. They are desperately afraid of upsetting Hollywood liberals who are sending more and more business into Georgia. Several Hollywood studios now have facilities in Georgia and the famous Pinewood Studio has a facility in Georgia.

The big issue now is adoption. In Georgia, Republicans in the legislature began advancing a plan that would improve adoption services and adoption rates in the state, but one of the chief supporters of the legislation wanted a provision making it clear that Christian adoption agencies in the state, including Catholic Charities, would not have to surrender the tenets of their faith in order to help children find loving homes.

Naturally, the gay rights lobby swung into action and swiftly got Governor Nathan Deal and the legislative leaders from Speaker David Ralston to Lt. Governor Casey Cagle to Senate Majority Leader Bill Cowsert to rush out and condemn the effort to protect Christian adoption agencies.

Christian adoption agencies will not adopt children into single parent homes and because they believe marriage is between a man and woman, they will not allow adoption into same-sex households.

There is no dispute that Christian adoption agencies in the state have a solid track record, are more efficient with their money, and do an outstanding job. But the state of Georgia now insists they abandon their moral values and tenets of their faith to take advantage of greater state funding to help children.

In leftwing states, Catholic Charities and other Christian institutions have had to cede the field and abandon adoption work because of the gay rights agenda. Republicans said it would never happen in Georgia. They refused to pass a Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Georgia because they said this stuff would never happen. Now they are telling Christian groups they have to surrender their values to help get children adopted.

With Republicans like these…

The Battle for Religious Freedom in Georgia

Earlier this year Georgia Senator Marty Harbin introduced SB 233, a state copy of the federal Religious Freedom and Restoration Act. It’s pretty widely accepted that a “clean” RFRA (just the 1993 federal RFRA language, without the additional provisions included in the 2016 bill that was vetoed by Governor Deal) would pass the Georgia General Assembly and be sent to the Governor’s desk. In fact, Nathan Deal has said in the past year, he would sign a clean RFRA bill. But now the Governor has reneged on RFRA, and many of his supporters in the Senate are trying to make sure RFRA never gets a vote.

There are a number of arguments for passing RFRA, such as the one laid out here by Resurgent contributor Dave Bishop. Many would even argue that RFRA does not go far enough to protect religious liberties, but it is certainly a necessary step in the right direction. I reached out to Senator Harbin, and he had this to say about RFRA.

“The Religious Freedom Restoration Act merely raises the levels of religious freedom for Georgia Citizens, giving them the same religious freedom protections as inmates in a Federal prison.

The history of RFRA begins in 1993 when this legislation was passed into law by the US congress, with only 3 dissenting votes out of 535 lawmakers. President Bill Clinton signed it into law. For four years, Americans enjoyed the same level of protection for religion that is enjoyed by free speech, the press, and the right to peaceably assemble. This level of protection is offered for these other freedoms at both the state and federal levels.

However, in 1997, the US Supreme Court ruled that RFRA would have to be enacted by individual states for it to be applicable at the state level. Since that time, 21 states, ranging from deep red to deep blue, have enacted the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, currently labeled SB 233 in Georgia.

The legislation merely requires that the government show a compelling government interest before infringing on someone’s freedom of religion. It also requires the government, once it has proven it needs to invade someone’s religion, to do so in the least invasive way possible.

This is simple, yet crucial legislation. And we are working hard to enact it this year in Georgia.

Governor Nathan Deal voted for this bill in 1993 in the US congress. However, he has declined to support the exact same bill for the state of Georgia. The Lieutenant Governor, Casey Cagle, assigned RFRA to Rules, where Chairman Jeff Mullis refused to allow it a hearing.

We will continue to work to pass this important legislation for the citizens of Georgia.”

Unfortunately the delay tactics have done enough to prevent RFRA from making it to the Governor’s desk in 2017. Even if it were to clear the Senate, it is too late to send the bill to the House to pass it before the session ends. However, it is important that RFRA pass the Senate in this session for several reasons.

First, it would clear an important hurdle for 2018, and put RFRA near the front of the line for the next legislative session.

Second, it would send a message to gubernatorial candidates that we are serious about RFRA. There will be a lot of campaigning done between now and January 2018, and passing RFRA through the Senate would ensure that RFRA is a topic of discussion in the Republican primary.

Chairman Mullis should give RFRA a fair hearing instead of allowing it to be pigeon-holed in his committee. These are tactics we would expect from Harry Reid, not Georgia Republicans. If you would like to encourage Chairman Mullis to give RFRA a hearing, you can email him at [email protected] or call his office at 404-656-0057.

We Fight For Them

Donald Trump has done conservatives a great service. He has taken tongs, a blowtorch and a sandblaster to the rusted rivets at the joint between the Republican Party and what they call “social conservatives.” He’s blasted it down to the bare metal and exposed something so weak that it was only held together by the layers of new paint that get applied every election cycle as candidates pander to religious voters.

The joint itself is, in fact, fatigued to the point of failure. The GOP stands ready to expunge itself of the religious right, and Hallelujah, let it happen, Lord.

It needs to happen because we fight for them, and they don’t. The New York Times described the battle lines in conservative media, naming Erick as the leader on the anti-Trump side, and the rest of practically everyone else on the other side. They characterized the battle over Trump himself. But it goes very much deeper than that.

I don’t care if you (reader, and voter) vote for Trump. I don’t care if he wins. I won’t rehash all the reasons he and Hillary Clinton are both unacceptable. There is a bigger battle to fight, and the GOP doesn’t have the stomach for it, no matter who is in the White House.

That battle has been going on since 1973, and it’s who we on the religious right fight for. We fight for the unborn.

Yes, religious freedom is important. Yes, the battle between rights of conscience to not bake a cake, or rent a room, or play a gig, or take photographs, or perform a wedding ceremony, or what-have-you are important. Yes, marriage as a biological family unit is important. Yes, stopping our descent into absurdity of gender confusion is important. But all those issues have one glaringly obvious shared property. They’re all fights involving living people who have been born.

On September 21, 1980, almost exactly 36 years ago, Ronald Reagan debated independent John Anderson by invitation of the League of Women Voters–a debate Jimmy Cater declined. Soma Golden, editorial writer from The New York Times, asked both candidates “should a President be guided by organized religion on issues like abortion, equal rights, and defense spending?”

Anderson referred to a “litmus test” for judges, based on a “view” of the sanctity of life. Reagan replied:

REAGAN: The litmus test that John says is in the Republican platform, says no more than the judges to be appointed should have a respect for innocent life. Now, I don’t think that’s a bad idea. I think all of us should have a respect for innocent life. With regard to the freedom of the individual for choice with regard to abortion, there’s one individual who’s not being considered at all. That’s the one who is being aborted. And I’ve noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born. I think that, technically, I know this is a difficult and an emotional problem, and many people sincerely feel on both sides of this, but I do believe that maybe we could find the answer through medical evidence, if we would determine once and for all, is an unborn child a human being? I happen to believe it is.

Beyond all doubt, scientifically, an unborn child, after fertilization and the creation of a zygote, is a human being. Dianne N. Irving, M.A., Ph.D., published in the International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, in 1999, wrote:

Philosophically, virtually any claim for so-called “delayed personhood”–that is, “personhood” does not start until some point after fertilization–involves the theoretical disaster of accepting that the idea or concept of a mind/body split has any correlate or reflects the real world. Historically this problem was simply the consequence of wrong-headed thinking about reality, and was/is totally indefensible.

Pro-abortion advocates try to hold to any definition of person that doesn’t include an unborn baby, even to the point of agreeing a woman who kills her baby immediately after giving birth deserves the most severe judicial punishment but a woman whose baby is killed by a doctor during delivery is exercising a right of choice. To them, it doesn’t matter where the line of personhood is drawn, as long as it’s drawn before the umbilical cord is cut.

These unborn humans who have no voice is who we’re fighting for.

Donald Trump says he is pro-life, but he has no stomach for the fight. The GOP says they are pro-life, but in the fight, they become poltroons. Trump called his sister–a federal judge–“brilliant” (he also said she signed a bill, which judges don’t do). Maryanne Trump Barry wrote an opinion in 2000 defending partial birth abortion. He (claimed, jokingly) suggested she would make a great Supreme Court judge.

Maybe Trump–if he wins–will nominate justices from the list he published, all solid conservatives. Do we know if any of those judges would pass Reagan’s litmus test? Maybe some would, maybe some wouldn’t. But if you search Trump’s entire website, all his positions, for the word “abortion” you will probably get the results I got: zero. That’s what we can expect from Trump in this fight.

The GOP just passed yet another continuing resolution giving Democrats more money for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, that sells baby parts, corrupts prosecutors in Texas, controls the media, and overall engages in whatever lies to continue its ghoulish and evil infanticide business.

Republicans are fine dealing with the purely political arms of the pro-life movement, who shake the religious tree to fill their coffers, and endorse candidates in exchange for vows they never intend to keep. It’s disgusting. But a GOP-controlled Congress with a majority unseen since before World War II should have been able to get funding for Zika, Flint (Michigan)’s water supply, and cut off Planned Parenthood.

If the president vetoed the funding bill without Planned Parenthood money, then the government shutdown can be on him. But Republicans are so scared of having that millstone placed around their necks, just to save a few million unborn non-voters, they wouldn’t dare. It was all talk.

It’s always all talk. The GOP has no intention of being pro-life, or Christian in anything but smarmy platitudes. The “Christian right,” or “social conservatives” is always treated as the Democrats treat African Americans and liberal Jews. They are reliable voters along for the ride, but not really worth fighting for actual issues.

We voters are grown-ups. We can handle our own problems. We can sue in court. We can raise funds to pay grossly unfair fines. We can resist forced re-education. We can even sit in a jail cell in protest. But the unborn can’t do any of those things. They can only be born, or be killed. They are people with no voice. Even their mothers, in moments of stress, don’t speak up for them.

It’s not enough just to promise to appoint good Supreme Court justices. It’s not enough just to say pro-life things. This is an active fight. Doing nothing leads to heinous and disastrous laws like SB 1564 in Illinois (signed into law by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner), which forces crisis pregnancy centers to refer patients to abortion clinics.

California’s awful “Reproductive FACT Act” was rammed through the legislature and eagerly signed by Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown. Now crisis pregnancy centers that don’t post prominent signs that they do not offer abortion, and don’t refer patients to free or low-cost state abortion clinics, can be fined up to $1,000. Regardless, some are refusing. Republicans who don’t have the courage to even cut Planned Parenthood funding could never roll back these state initiatives.

One positive is Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signing a law to allow the state to fund up to $2 million per year for crisis pregnancy centers. The law requires the centers to disconnect from overtly “political or religious purposes,” and that’s just fine. The fight for the unborn isn’t one that requires a cross or an elephant to win–only a conscience. The death-merchant ghouls are as furious as demons.

Thanks to Donald Trump, we no longer have to pretend the GOP speaks for us, or represents our views. We can simply raise hands at a Trump rally and tell everyone how wrong Muslims are–because that’s what the GOP thinks Christians are.

Many of those self-identified evangelicals don’t know enough about the Bible to defend a pro-life stance. They don’t know enough about Jesus to lead an atheist to faith. They don’t know enough about Jesus to teach their own children so they will not wander from Biblical truth. That’s fine. Let’s them ride the Trump train and take it where it leads. It likely won’t be stopping at any pro-life stations–if history is any guide (and it is).

Christian, pro-life conservatives have a fight on our hands that will not go away on its own. It’s a more important fight than budgets, trade policy, immigration, or even ISIS. If you don’t think so, then you’re probably not part of the “religious right.” Let’s not argue about definitions, or, as The New York Times called it, incorrectly, who is “the guardian of what it means to be a conservative.”

I can tell you what it means when Ann Coulter, who published a book titled “Godless: The Church of Liberalism,” tweets this:

Coulter and the rest of those rabid Trumpkins are not going to fight for the unborn.

Truth be told, it’s probably time for a new party. The Republican Party was born out the the last great moral failing, where the Whigs compromised on slavery until it led to war. Slaves had Frederick Douglass, Dred Scott, Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth to speak directly for them. The unborn have nobody but those who have already been born–and the occasional survivors of botched abortions.

This fight is not going away as long people are murdered for no reason other than the convenience of a mother unwilling to birth a child, even to put him or her up for adoption. As Cal Thomas once said, I’ll give you the life of the mother, rape, and incest, if you’ll give me the rest. (They won’t.)

With Hillary Clinton, we’ll have unlimited abortion, because the GOP won’t fight. With Donald Trump, we get “There has to be some form of punishment,” perhaps the most unintelligent, harmful, and uninformed statement on the pro-life movement ever uttered. Trump won’t fight for life.

We will fight for the unborn without them. And we will win without them.

Thoughts on Nathan Deal’s Veto of the Religious Liberty Legislation

“The Governor would be hard pressed to veto two red meat pieces of legislation. So the odds are the campus carry bill gets signed.”

Governor Nathan Deal vetoed HB 757, the religious liberty legislation. He came under extraordinary pressure from Hollywood to put its values ahead of Georgia’s. He caved. He had done a lot to woo those businesses to Georgia and it would have been surprising had he put Georgia small businesses ahead of Hollywood.

What was surprising was Governor Deal doing so the day after Easter — vetoing a piece of legislation championed by many pastors who led their Georgia congregations in prayers for Governor Deal just yesterday. A very large number of Southern Baptist congregations had committed to praying for Governor Deal yesterday during their Easter services. Issuing the veto the day after was just deeply insulting.

On top that, the Governor really wants evangelicals to help him with his education reform effort. I sat in on a meeting last year where the Governor talked to faith leaders in the black community, many who also supported this legislation.

The veto of HB757 means the Governor is going to see his remaining agenda hijacked and HB757 will probably next year be HB1. The issue will not only not go away, but if the Governor remains recalcitrant on the issue, it is going to become the biggest issue in the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary.

What conservatives in Georgia are now seeing is that big businesses have the ear of Governor Deal in a way small businesses and churches do not. They are also seeing that no compromise can be had on the religious liberty issue. The evangelicals actually reduced the impact of HB757 by making it only apply to non-profit religious organizations and, at Governor Deal’s request, included specific language prohibiting invidious discrimination.

To have Governor Deal use rhetoric by opponents of religious liberty legislation — rhetoric that actually ignores key components of the legislation — was disappointing.

On the upside, the odds that Governor Deal lets the campus carry legislation go into effect goes up dramatically. That is one of the bits of irony here. The Governor would be hard pressed to veto two red meat pieces of legislation. So the odds are the campus carry bill gets signed. That is, by the way, one reason conservatives in the legislature flat out refused to make the changes Governor Deal requested to campus carry. Were Deal to veto both pieces of legislation, he’d be signaling he has no use for any part of the Republican coalition in Georgia and that would put him into lame duck status ahead of the proper season, scuttling the rest of his agenda.

Nathan Deal Just Made Georgia A Blue State

Gov. Nathan Deal has just handed Georgia over to Democrats.

He vetoed the latest, most watered-down version of a religious freedom protection bill, HB 757. In fact, the bill mainly offers “pastor protection” not a sweeping overwatch for corporations and other individuals.

All individuals who are ministers of the gospel or clerics or religious practitioners ordained or authorized to solemnize marriages, perform rites, or administer sacraments according to the usages of the denomination shall be free to solemnize any marriage,  perform any rite, or administer any sacrament or to decline to do the same, in their discretion, in the exercise of their rights to free exercise of religion under the Constitution of this state or of the United States.

In Georgia, we will now see Christian pastors sued for refusing, against their own consciences and the tenets of their denomination, to perform a marriage rite for same-sex couples. It will happen.

By vetoing even the most gentle version of an RFRA, Deal betrayed churches who don’t want to offer their sanctuaries or worship centers for gay weddings.

No faith based organization shall be required to rent, lease, or otherwise grant permission for property to be used by another person for an event which is objectionable to such faith based organization.

No faith based organization shall be required to provide social, educational, or charitable services that violate such faith based organization’s sincerely held religious belief as demonstrated by its practice, expression, or clearly articulated tenet of faith; provided, however, that government may enforce the terms of a grant, contract, or other agreement voluntarily entered into by such faith based organization.

In Georgia, we will now see churches sued and forced to rent their facilities, against their own consciences and tenets of their denomination, for same-sex weddings. It will happen.

And in the next election for governor, in 2018, any Republican running for office will have to carry the burden of surrender in the race. Meanwhile, all Jason Carter, who unsuccessfully ran against Deal in 2014, will have to do is say “I would have found a compromise.”

Every conservative voice has been silenced in Georgia, because we can’t call Disney on its threat to boycott Georgia, and expose their hypocrisy given that Florida has a stronger RFRA than Georgia. Wouldn’t it be great to call on Disney to boycott Florida and close Walt Disney World unless the state repealed its RFRA? But now we can’t because Governor Deal melted like wet toilet paper.

Deal has handed Georgia over to the Democrats, and almost guaranteed that by 2018 not only will Georgia be a swing state, it will be turning a deep shade of blue.

Religious Freedom: Disney Tells Georgia to “Let It Go…”

We should have seen this coming, Georgia. After all it was a Disney / Pixar film that captured the mantra of the secular Progressives: “We scare because we care.”

Just as we describe in You Will Be Made to Care, Disney has joined the NFL and other compassionate bullies to try to shut down even stripped-down religious freedom protection in Georgia under the auspices of opposing discrimination. They are threatening to take their Marvel movie-making magic somewhere else if Georgia passes HB 757 to protect religious freedom.

For the record, they had been filming in Ohio for Captain America films previously before moving operations to Georgia. And yet Ohio, under the cowardice of John Kasich, refused to consider religious freedom protection. The governor who famously told Christians to “just bake the cupcakes” said such protection wasn’t necessary in Ohio.

And yet Marvel left the state anyways. Why? Because at the end of the day, it’s all about making money for shareholders. And if they can do that in Georgia, they will.

The number of people falling for the outright lies is staggering. Senator Isakson (R-GA) even said that he thought such issues should be handled at the federal level. Unreal.  Clearly he has not read You Will Be Made to Care or his recent history for that matter. Had he done so, he would know that the whole reason we need state-level RFRA laws is that the federal RFRA law (signed by President Clinton more than 20 years ago) was ruled by the courts as only applicable to federal cases, not state or local ones.

Now more than 32 states have passed some variation of the federal law or have court rulings in place in order to provide the same basic protections to religious freedom. Via the Washington Post n 2014:

How many states already provide heightened protection for the exercise of religion? The answer? Thirty-one, 18 of which passed state laws based on the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The protections in an additional 13 states came through court rulings.

Now 20 have done so with Indiana and Arkansas having passed similar bills (Indiana already had some level of court protections.). The corporate bullies protested against Indiana, too, and threatened to pull their money. Governor Pence and friends baled then, stripping the bill of its core protections and leaving Indiana citizens in worse shape than before. Arkansas passed its law and got on with life, without the world coming to an end. Wal-Mart is still doing business there.

And we still have absolutely no cases in which these laws have been used to justify unlawful discrimination.

Erick Erickson has summarized the main points of the GA HB 757 compromise legislation:

What does Georgia’s law do?

  1. It says no preacher can be forced to perform a religious service in violation of his faith.
  2. It says no religious organization can be forced to hire people that disagree with the religious tenets of the organization.
  3. It says the government cannot force a business to stay open on a Saturday or Sunday.
  4. It specifically says the organizations cannot discriminate against protected classes of citizens.

The legislation also includes the federal RFRA language that Bill Clinton signed into law.

That’s it.

In other words, it provides narrow protection for only a handful of Georgians while strictly forbidding any unlawful discrimination.

It’s like offering an umbrella to survivors of the Titanic stranded on an iceberg in the middle of a hurricane as they drift toward the equator.

It’s not much, but at least it’s something.

Yet Disney, the NFL, and other corporate interests want to rip that little protection away.

Dare I say it? (Parents prepare to cringe….) Disney is telling all people of faith in Georgia to simply, “Let it go, let it go….”

Hypocrisy and Special Protection

Disney’s hypocrisy is chilling.

First, full disclosure: I am a Disney annual pass holder and have been at many times over the years. I’ve spent about 200 days on property at Walt Disney World. So yes, I am fan of Disney, in general. I am not turning their own tactics on them and calling for a Disney boycott.

Yet Florida is one the states that has tougher RFRA laws than Georgia is proposing. Disney does business there without a problem. If they were to be consistent, they should shutter their parks now. They are even digging a significant financial hole trying to build a new park in communist China.

The NFL likewise has no problem hosting Super Bowls in Louisiana, Florida, and Texas which also have tougher RFRA law than Georgia is proposing. They have no problem making gobs of cash by having their teams play in the USA which has stronger RFRA protection at the federal level than HB 757 is proposing. They’re even talking about having a game in communist China in 2018. (What is it with these corporate overlords and this fascination with China?)

The truth is, the corporate Leftists see an opportunity to leverage their alleged influence to advance the Left’s agenda. They sense weakness in Governor Deal–a correct diagnosis, it would seem– and are trying to move the goalposts on this issue.

If they can succeed in defeating even this stripped down religious freedom protection, they can then compare all future efforts to this “horribly discriminatory ” Georgia bill. They will wail about how the new efforts even go beyond that “horribly discriminatory” Georgia bill that was simply the worst. It will become the new standard by which all other potential protections get measured.

There is another angle here for the Left, as well.

Having fallen short legally thus far, the Left is trying to create the perception of a legally protected class for those who participate in same-sex ceremonies. (They are not, and never will be, marriages.) They want the protection of the 14th Amendment applied to them so their interests can trump your 1st Amendment rights. The Supreme Court silliness in Obergefell stopped just short of giving it to them.

But if they can create the public perception that they have those protections, the chilling effect will be the same.

For the first time in America, we would have a de facto protected class of people based on what they say they feel inside, or worse, what they say they do in the bedroom.

A Closer Look at the Legislation

Addressing the timing of the bill, state senator Greg Kirk told the New York Times. “When the Supreme Court changed the definition of marriage, dynamics changed. There was a need for a law, for this law, and it took Georgia to lead the way of the country to put this law together.”

He’s right. Obergefell forced us to act to protect the the rights of all people of faith—Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist–you name it. Because now we are being pressured by the government to endorse or support behavior we believe to be morally wrong. 

The legislators made sure to explain specifically who would be protected by this bill. They did not, as some opponents claim, open a door for any person to deny service to anyone they don’t agree with. The bill applies only to faith-based organizations: pastors, priests, churches, religious schools, or mission agencies.

It stops colleges from doing what was done at Vanderbilt, forcing faith-based organizations to place non-believers in leadership positions. More than two dozen such organizations shut their doors there and left the state. It keeps churches from having to hire people they believe to be engaged in sinful behavior. It protects faith-based organizations from being required to let others use their property for events which violate their religious beliefs. Those organizations can’t be required to  “provide social, educational, or charitable services that violate such faith based organization’s sincerely held religious belief.” The government is prohibited from pressuring or punishing these organizations by revoking tax exemption or invoking tax penalties.

Civil lawsuits aren’t even protected against here. The only place where the bill prohibits a civil lawsuit is in the situation of an employee or someone refused employment suing the religious organization for acting on their clearly articulated tenants or beliefs.

The click-bait articles make the legislators out to be anti-gay witch hunters who created this document simply to excuse their own prejudices and phobias. However, far from being a blazing, anti-gay rant, the Bill 575 concerns the government and religious organization. Not one instance of “gay,” “lesbian,” or “sexual orientation” occurs in the document.

This narrow focus actually leaves most of Georgia’s citizens unprotected under the legislation. And that should concern all of us left outside the umbrella.

This iceberg is shrinking. We can all huddle together for warmth, but it won’t be enough as the cultural waters get hotter.

Yes, it seems we will get wet on this ride.

But maybe that is where Disney would prefer people of faith to be—under the sea.