Why is Gov. Deal siding with corporate bullies over Georgians of faith?
Governor Nathan Deal drew national attention [last] week when he vetoed HB 757, a bill that would have protected Georgians’ free exercise of religion against infringement by state or local government.
Yielding to threats of economic harm from global corporations, the Hollywood Left, and LGBT activists, the governor demonstrated that he’s more concerned with the values and agenda of these outside groups than he is with those of Georgians of faith.
In short, he chose Mammon over God.
HB 757 is a reasonable bill that was carefully crafted to respond to concerns the governor had previously expressed.
It would have protected the right of faith-based groups, including churches and religious schools, to freely exercise their religion without fear of government persecution.
It would have provided critical protections for pastors, faith-based organizations, and individuals, preventing them from being forced to perform or participate in wedding ceremonies, or otherwise provide services, that violate their sincerely held religious convictions.
And since the governor had promised to sign a bill modeled on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) – a bill to provide protections on the state level that RFRA provides on the federal – HB 757 essentially adopted those provisions.
But the governor reneged. Weighing propaganda from the Left against pleas from the people in the pews, he found the propaganda more compelling. And in a nice touch, he issued the veto the day after Easter, the holiest day on the Christian calendar. At least he didn’t do it as soon as he got home from Easter services.
The governor claimed not to be responding to the threats of economic punishment if the bill went into law, but – how to say this nicely? – exactly no one in Georgia believes that.
Jane Robbins is an attorney and a senior fellow with the American Principles Project.