Oh, yeah, they’re back at it again.
If you are reading this, you will probably remember the uproar about the “Religious Freedom Act” that would have allowed people and businesses around the state to discriminate based on their “profoundly and deeply held religious beliefs”. Well, it’s back. SB 180. Same name, too. Randy Robertson D-29 signed on as one of the sponsors. Of course, just about every so-called Republican Senator up there did as well, but I’m primarily concerned with him. If you have a different one, check at www.legis.ga.gov and go under the ‘all legislation’ tab, then enter Senate in the box and 180 in that box. It will bring up the bill for you.
For those who are hazy on this and those new to this, here are the problems with this bill in a list:
- It puts the “expression of religious freedom” above the “civil rights” of the individual. How is this a problem? Well, providing a business service whether it be flipping burgers, blending smoothies, baking and decorating wedding cakes, or whatever, is not generally recognized as an “expression of religious belief”. It is recognized as “doing business.” As such, you provide a service to anyone who walks in the door. Contrast this to “civil rights” which are something you are born having. You are born having Freedom of speech and the right to vote (within certain parameters.
- Do not misunderstand me-I WANT people to be able to express their profoundly held spiritual beliefs of any kind. However, it is a widely held maxim in every religion that “there is a place and time for every purpose under heaven.” 1 It is my position that the marketplace is seldom the place for sermonizing and standing on soapboxes. Refusing service to ANYONE on the basis of whatever religion you follow is shooting your religion in the knees. Serve them with humility and love and let them see you as an inclusive and welcoming member of that faith. Make them want to join you. NOBODY wants to join a faith that condemns them.
- This bill would expressly allow for the owners of businesses to refuse services to people such as LGBTQ (which it is primarily directed against), BUT, it could also be used against women, Black Americans, Latinx, BIPOC, Native Americans, AAPI, Jews, Middle Easterners, Africans, Indians, Pakistanis, the disabled, chronically ill, elderly, children, etc. Essentially anyone who isn’t Caucasian and who doesn’t gee haw to their liking. It’s a fascist bill. (If you need me to show you exactly how this fills the criteria to be fascist, I’ll be happy to show you. I’m not seeing fascists behind every bush because I’m imagining them. Nope, they’re standing out in the open now.)
What do we need to do? Well, what we have done before.
- USE THE MEDIA TO OUR ADVANTAGE. TV, radio, print, and social media should all be used as strongly as possible. Use them to rally public resistance to this monstrosity of legislation. Make sure to NAME THE SENATORS who are sponsoring this thing. Make them justify their support for it then rip them down.
- Send your objections to the Senate AND the House. The bill is currently in the Senate, but will likely be voted out. Then it will go to the House for consideration. Should the House vote it out, Kemp has indicated that he is set to sign it into law. So our goal should be to stop it before it gets to Kemp’s desk.
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