Friday, March 04, 2016

Georgia's Republican Governor Opposes "Religious Freedom" Bill on Biblical Grounds

As a number of state legislatures consider enacting religious freedom bills to protect opponents of same-sex marriage, one of the most contentious of the bills has been Georgia's HB 757 which among other things would bar government from taking any adverse action against any person or faith-based organization based wholly or in part on the person or organization believing, speaking or acting in accordance with their belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman and sexual relations should be reserved to such a union.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported yesterday that Georgia's Republican Governor Nathan Deal took a surprisingly strong stand against the legislation:
Amid a growing outcry from powerful corporations over Georgia’s “religious liberty” proposal, Gov. Nathan Deal issued his strongest warning yet to lawmakers who are debating controversial legislation seen as a conservative answer to the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling.
In stark terms, the Republican said he would reject any measure that “allows discrimination in our state in order to protect people of faith,” and urged religious conservatives not to feel threatened by the ruling....
Standing in the lobby of a government building after a ribbon-cutting ceremony, he laid out a lengthy condemnation of the measure from a biblical perspective, first noting that he is a Southern Baptist who took religion courses at Mercer University.
“What the New Testament teaches us is that Jesus reached out to those who were considered the outcasts, the ones that did not conform to the religious societies’ view of the world … We do not have a belief in my way of looking at religion that says we have to discriminate against anybody. If you were to apply those standards to the teaching of Jesus, I don’t think they fit.”