Trusting Governor Deal

I have a concern I might as well throw out there to you. I’ve been dwelling on since last night when I heard the Governor, Speaker, and the rest of the GOP Leadership was going to throw Christians under the bus in exchange for Democrat votes for the transportation tax increase.

Follow along with me.

We saw David Ralston push a billion dollar transportation tax increase through the legislature just months after road pavers and their PAC wrote him a check. Governor Deal gave it his full throated support.

We saw S.B. 63, the beer jobs bill, get scuttled because beverage wholesalers wrote massive checks. Governor Deal was a big recipient. Casey Cagle was a big recipient. And the legislation was corrupted and gutted.

Then we saw S.B. 129 gutted. Large donors opposed to protecting religious liberty weighed in. They had donated to Governor Deal. They had donated to David Ralston. They had donated to Casey Cagle. And ultimately they all folded like cheap suits for special interests. Religious liberty protections got tossed aside.

Now several credible people tell me that the Republican leaders have cut a deal with the Democrats. They’ll refuse to reconsider the religious liberty bill in exchange for Democrat votes for a tax increase.

I’ve been a big proponent of Governor Deal’s education reform plan. But watching monied interests corrupt so much sound policy, I do have to wonder how we can trust that education reform won’t also get tainted.

I understand the wheeling and dealing involved in getting legislation passed, but the ability to write a check to shape public policy reeks of corruption and bribery, legal or not.

When schools are passed into the state run system, how can we trust that monied interests won’t shape curriculum, etc. Look at the way large dollars prop up common core.

At this point, seeing so many good initiatives go down in flames because of donors to the GOP, I’m thinking we cannot trust the education reforms will not also be corrupted based on donations to key players.

It’s worth pondering. And I’m beginning to believe I was wrong to suggest this education reform package is worth fighting for. Looking at the pattern, I’m betting the only people who’ll be fighting for it are those who can profit from it.

Tolerance For Me. Not For Thee.

Last week, singer Elton John took to the pages of the Atlanta Journal Constitution to encourage the Georgia House of Representatives to oppose S.B. 129, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA.

Elton John claims that Georgia would be “turning its back on tolerance” if it chose to protect the consciences of people of faith.

Simply put, this bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It promises religious freedom, but let’s be clear: No one’s religious freedom is at risk! Both the Georgia Constitution and U.S. Constitution very explicitly protect this right.

What SB 129 will really do is institutionalize the hate some people hold in their hearts against other people. It will turn back the clock on the progress we have made — not only in the fight against HIV, but also in the struggle for a more equal and just society.

The first of those paragraphs is flat out wrong. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood were not saved from the Obamacare abortion mandate by the U.S. Constitution’s first amendment. They were only saved by the federal RFRA law, which Georgia does not have.

The second paragraph is pretty damn hypocritical given this news. The fashion designers Dolce & Gabbana have come out against gay marriage and “rent-a-wombs.” Who is leading the charge to boycott them?

The singer Elton John joined leading gay rights groups in calling for a boycott of fashion house Dolce & Gabbana on Sunday, as comments by one of the celebrated Italian design duo about fertility treatment were labelled “archaic” and “deeply insulting”.

Got that? Elton John who is demanding tolerance in Georgia is demanding a boycott of views he opposes.

He wants tolerance for his views, but not for faithful adherents of religion. His editorial in the AJC is flat out hypocrisy and his actions prove people of religious conviction need protection for a state that might easily turn against them.

Georgia House Will Raise Your Taxes, But Not Protect Your Religious Liberty

Last week, the Georgia House voted for the transportation tax increase.

But Speaker Ralston and the House Judiciary Committee have refused to take any action to support religious liberty in Georgia. These guys are Republicans and they voted for a tax increase, but will not vote to protect your freedom of conscience.

The Georgia Senate overwhelmingly passed S.B. 129, the religious liberty legislation, and did so without amendments. The Georgia House now has the legislation. It is time for the House to act.

I’m afraid we need to start working phones again. Here are the steps you need to take.

  1. Call Speaker Ralston at (404) 656-5020 and ask him to bring S.B. 129 for a vote without amendments.
  2. Call the Republican Leader of the House, Rep. Larry O’Neal, at (404) 656-5052. Tell him that if Republicans are willing to pass the transportation tax increase, they should be willing to bring S.B. 129 up for a vote without amendments.
  3. Go here to find your state representative. Call your state representative and ask him or her to request the Speaker bring S.B. 129 for a vote without amendments.

You need to do all three. It is vitally important.

Then, this Friday, I will send you an email if you’re on the email list. You need to print out copies to distribute in your church on Sunday. You need to generate as many phone calls as possible to both the Speaker and to the individual representatives. The message needs to be the same: bring S.B. 129 for a vote without amendments.

Here’s the last thing: the opposing side has organized a movement to not just harass businesses to come out against religious liberty protections, but also harass members of the legislature.

If you are not willing to pick up the phone, we will lose. Our religious liberty protections in Georgia will start being eroded by left-wing activists inside and outside the judiciary.

The worst part is that it will have been because Republicans in the Georgia legislature were willing to raise taxes, but not protect your faith and conscience.

Start calling now. Insist they tell the Speaker to bring S.B. 129 to the floor immediately without amendments. Your right to worship and practice your beliefs is on the line. And yes, it can happen here in Georgia.