Mississippi just passed a so-called religious freedom bill.
Supporters claim the build is necessary so Christians won’t face discrimination for refusing to participate in services or serve people with whom they disagree on religion.
The question is, is Mississippi House Bill 1523 just code for discriminating against gay, lesbian and transgender people?
The bill, signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant, allows businesses and religious groups to deny service to the lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual community.
Under the new law, LGBT people can be fired or refused employment, denied medical care, and even barred from buying or renting property.
The bill shields those denying those services from punishment in the name of religion.
Allowing people to be fired or refused employment, denied medical care, and even barred from buying or renting property – where have we heard that before?
Black people heard it and were victims of this bible sanction discrimination for years; and in some places still are.
Mississippi state representative Steve Holland, who is a democrat, says it’s the most hateful bill he has seen in his entire career.
Rep. Steve Holland: “this was a pretty big slap in the face I don’t see it as religious freedom at all. I see it as the government saying that we can just discriminate against whole classes of people. And we went through that in the 60’s and we’re still suffering from that. And it just hurts my heart. As a Christian #1 that we’re not practicing love. And I think that’s the basis of Christianity the great commandments are love God and love your neighbors, yourself. And I don’t see much love in this bill.”
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant stands by the bill.
Governor Phil Bryant: “There is no intent, there’s no one on the part of the Mississippi legislature or the governor’s office that wants to discriminate or harm anyone. This is simply, if they are worried about protecting people’s rights, also understand that people of faith have rights.”
But it’s not protecting people’s rights, it’s plain and simple discrimination concealed as religion.
And it allows people to impose their personal religious beliefs onto someone else.
The bill was signed into law on Tuesday and already major corporations such as Hyatt, Whole Foods, IBM, Toyota, GE, Hewlett Packard, PepsiCo, Tyson Foods, Nissan, MGM Resorts International, Levis, Dow Chemical Company and AT&T are denouncing it.
Some companies are threatening to completely pull out of the state.
Mississippi stands to lose millions and millions of dollars and jobs.
Just so you know, Mississippi isn’t alone.
According to the ACLU there are nearly 200 similar bills in at least 10 other state legislatures in the pipeline.
North Carolina is still reeling from the fall-out of passing its own “religious freedom” bill.
PayPal canceled plans to open a new global headquarters in Charlotte, costing the state 400 jobs.
We must remember, especially as people of color who are mostly listening to this broadcast that bigots used the bible, religion and the same reasoning, or lack thereof, to discriminate against black people.
Do we really want to go backwards?