Last week, Georgia’s legislature passed House Bill 757, a bill that would protect the right of faith-based groups, including churches and religious schools, to freely exercise their religion without fear of government persecution. The bill now awaits the signature of Governor Nathan Deal.
Soundly rooted in the forgotten First Amendment, House Bill 757 provides critical religious freedom 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. The bill also replicates — with respect to state and local governments — the protections that the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act provides against the federal government.
Of course, the idea of religious freedom has drawn the ire of both the political left and corporate America. Disney, Salesforce, and Apple have all publicly criticized the bill, and corporate mainstays like Delta and Coca-Cola, through the business coalition Georgia Prospers, have condemned the legislation and threatened punitive measures. Ironically, these same corporations have expressed no reservations about making money in countries that put homosexuals to death.
America rests on the bedrock understanding that individuals can flourish each day according to the dictates of their conscience. Because of this, the concepts of ‘religious freedom’ and ‘America’ have always been virtually synonymous.
That is no longer the case. Anti-religious bigots, emboldened by corporate America and the political left, are now waging all-out war on religious freedom. This crass attempt to bully people of faith is un-American at its very core.
Governor Deal should reject these empty threats and act to protect the religious freedom of all Georgians.
Jane Robbins is an attorney and a senior fellow with the American Principles Project.