Mississippi's Got It Wrong


StartFragmentI made sure I looked it up and read it for myself. Mississippi's Protecting Freedom of Conscience Government Discrimination Act, that is. You've no doubt heard about it on the news. Such things often get oversimplified as they are reported out to the nation, so I wanted to be sure I understood its stated intent. And I think I do. In a nutshell, if one's "sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction" (that's language used in the bill itself) leads one to being opposed to same-sex marriage, and a variety of other things related to sexual orientation, the State of Mississippi cannot prosecute you for being discriminatory. Some of the bill addresses the rights of religious organizations like churches, synagogues, mosques and so on. Some of it addresses the rights of individuals who do things like baking cakes, arranging flowers or provide banquet halls. And some of it allows for state employees to be exempt from being involved in same-sex marriage licensing, officiating, etc. But it goes beyond ceremonies and licenses. Because it also allows for discrimination in hiring, adoption, housing. If you think gays and lesbians and those who marry are headed straight for hell, and you'll be right behind them if you allow them to live in a house you own, then you are protected in your right to not allow them to rent your property. If you think all people are supposed to be heterosexual, and you foster a child who isn't, and you want to get them some therapy to treat their "perversion"--you are protected. And the list goes on. All in the name of protecting religious freedom. Well, I'm sorry. It just doesn't work for me. It smacks of the bad old days when folks "sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions" included a belief God wanted the races separated, because, after all, black folks were inferior to white ones. Or an earlier time, when such beliefs and convictions lead to a defense of slavery as being the will of God. Read the bill for yourself. It is Mississippi House Bill 1523. See what you think. You can find it by clicking on this link. https://legiscan.com/MS/text/HB1523/id/1337267 Whatever you think, my sincerely held religious belief and moral conviction and my conviction as a citizen of these United States is this: it's a step backward. Some of it is unnecessary (religious officials already have many of the protections it offers), some of it misunderstands what it means to be a public servant, and some of it is just plain wrong. At the state borders the signs read, Welcome to Mississippi, It's Like Coming Home. Maybe. For some folks. But for others . . . . EndFragment

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