Mississippi governor signs religious freedom law over objections from Apple, others

“Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant on Tuesday signed a far-reaching law allowing people with religious objections to deny wedding services to same-sex couples and protecting other actions considered discriminatory by gay rights activists,” Letitia Stein reports for Reuters. “The measure also clears the way for employers to cite religion in determining workplace policies on dress code, grooming and bathroom and locker access.”

“His decision comes amid national protests over a new law barring transgender people in North Carolina from choosing bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. The governors of Georgia and Virginia vetoed similar ‘religious liberty’ bills last week,” Stein reports. “The U.S. business community has been pushing back against such legislation. On Tuesday, PayPal Holdings Inc canceled plans to open a global operations center in Charlotte, North Carolina and invest $3.6 million in the area over its new law.”

“On a letter on March 29, founders and chief executives of more than a hundred companies, including Apple Inc, Twitter Inc and Alphabet Inc urged North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory to repeal the legislation,” Stein reports. “When the state legislature passed the measure last week, Representative Andy Gipson, a Republican sponsor, downplayed national media criticism and said the measure enjoyed wide support in the state. ‘It’s time that we stand up and do the work of the people and protect the freedoms that they enjoy,’ he said on Friday.”

Read more in the full article here.

“This bill states that it protects ‘sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions,’ including a belief that marriage is only between a man and a woman,” Mark Berman reports for The Washington Post. “It also says that a person’s gender is that ‘determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth’ and goes on to say that businesses can determine who is allowed to access bathrooms, dressing rooms and locker rooms.”

“Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said in a statement that he was signing the bill ‘to protect sincerely held religious beliefs and moral convictions,’ arguing that the new legislation is meant to allow people to exercise their religious freedom,” Berman reports. “‘This bill does not limit any constitutionally protected rights or actions of any citizens of this state under federal or state laws,’ he said. Bryant added: ‘The legislation is designed in the most targeted manner possible to prevent government interference in the lives of the people from which all power to the state is derived.'”

Berman reports, “Mississippi’s new law is set to take effect in July.”

Read more in the full article here.

Carly Fiorina: Tim Cook’s opposition to Indiana religious freedom law hypocritical – April 6, 2015
Tim Cook forging unusual path as a social activist ‘on behalf of Apple’ – March 31, 2015
Does Apple risk blowback over Tim Cook’s gay rights activism? – March 30, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook says ‘religious freedom’ laws are dangerous – March 30, 2015
Tim Cook: Apple ‘deeply disappointed’ with Indiana’s new religious-objections law – March 27, 2015
Apple CEO Cook makes ‘substantial’ donation for gay rights activists in U.S. South – December 19, 2014
Alabama sexual orientation anti-discrimination bill to be named after Apple’s Tim Cook – December 4, 2014
Russian memorial to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs dismantled after CEO Tim Cook announces he’s gay – November 3, 2014
Apple investors don’t care that Tim Cook is gay – October 31, 2014\
Goldman Sachs CEO: Apple’s Tim Cook coming out as gay ‘will resonate powerfully’ – October 31, 2014
Human Rights Campaign: Tim Cook’s announcement that he is gay will save countless lives – October 30, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook: ‘I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me’ – October 30, 2014
Apple joins Gay Pride parade in Austin, Texas – September 21, 2014
Apple releases video highlighting employee participation in San Francisco’s LGBT Pride Parade – July 8, 2014
Tim Cook, Apple employees march in LGBT Pride Parade in San Francisco – June 30, 2014
Apple inviting employees to march in annual San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade – May 7, 2014


    1. Okay, I’ll bite. 🙂

      They’re just doing their jobs. It’s the South. They’re SUPPOSED to be bigots.

      I do love how they use words like freedom do describe the intentional, systematic curtailing of our god-given inalienable rights. With no apparent sense of irony.

      Cousin-humping pigf*ckers.

      1. How open minded of you.

        You believe someone’s sexual preference is more important than other’s religious preference. That’s fine, but not everyone agrees

        We call it common sense and decency here in the South.
        The further Left you move, the less you understand this.

        1. Sexual preference? Is this the 1950’s I’ve wandered into? Tell us, when did you “decide” to “prefer” to be attracted to people of the opposite sex to you?

          1. Is this the 12th Century I’VE wandered into?
            Tell me, do you not understand a moral compass can be just as much a part of your ‘DNA’ as your sexual preference?

            Really? You don’t know this?
            And libs ‘think’ they know science?

            1. You’re an idiot. Where in the fuck do morals have have anything to do with DNA? Morals are learned behaviors, they are not natural. Homosexuality is natural any hatred and ignorance towards it is learned and fostered just as bigotry and racism.

            2. Wow, feel good answer of the day.
              I didn’t say morals can’t be learned, I say a moral compass, how you come out looking at the world. And I didn’t say homosexuality was learned.

              You do know what the word ‘idiot’ means, right?
              Low reading comprehension is usually a telltale sign if this…..

          2. Tell a homosexual he/she was born that way – but you better be running when you do.

            The community has long claimed their homosexuality is a ‘choice.’ So much so that scientists refuse to declare a genetic mutation as a cause and that they various psych orgs have unclassified it as a mental condition.

            Only in a Marxist society can two percent of the people dictate the rules to the other 98%.

            1. Speaking as a card carrying gay man myself I can honestly say you haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about. The “choice” is ACCEPTING who you are instead of hiding it. It isn’t about choosing who you are in the first place.

              And your “98%” figure is completely made up. A majority of people in the USA think that LGBT people should have the same rights and access to services as anyone else does. That is born out by poll after poll.

            2. Hey “handsome,” NO ONE in the “gay community” thinks their sexual orientation is a choice. No one in the scientific community, either.

              By the way, exactly when did you “choose” to be straight?

          1. The purpose of sexuality is procreation.

            The purpose of homosexuality… Is sex… And not procreation.

            Therefore homosexuality is learned whereas sexuality for the purpose procreation is not. Homosexuality is a perversion (read: distortion of the original course, meaning, or state of something.).

            1. Really? So what does one man loving and wanting to marry another have to do with sex? Marriage has nothing to do with procreation, so your argument is moot. Marriage is about two people committing their lives together, it has nothing to do with sex.

              Religion is the the true perversion of nature. Look at any religion and at all the limitations it places on natural tendencies.

        2. Sum Jung Gai:
          You people accuse others of being ‘bigots’ but somehow you think “Cousin-humping pigf*ckers.” is open minded and tolerant??? Wow.

          You’re proof that legislation protecting the rights of religious people from the left’s insane bigotry is absolutely essential.

          Homosexuality is nothing more than a malfunction of the normal, healthy sex drive. It’s a form of mental illness and has *zero* biological benefit (quite the opposite).
          No normal male is repulsed by the female body, and vice versa. Every part of the male reproductive system is designed to work in harmony with a female counterpart to make sex pleasurable and to propagate the race. The female is imbued with a natural attraction to healthy males for the same reason. Guys love boobies for a very good reason.
          It’s called _nature_.

          If you disagree by all means check out the CDC website and look at the results of this behavior. Start with looking up the AIDS rates among homosexuals. You won’t of course, since you know it would not help your case.

          So you think I’m a bigot? Ok.
          Tell me:
          How many AIDS cases have been caused by my ‘bigotry’?

          1. I’ll wade through the political rhetoric just to point out a couple of things about homosexuality. Most of the stuff I’m getting from Wiki.

            Homosexuality has been around well before humans became popular on the planet. As of 1999, about 500 species, ranging from primates to gut worms, have been documented engaging in same-sex behaviors. That’s just for animals, when you get into plants, fungi and bacteria things get really kinky. I mean does human sperm and human grow up and get a job? No? Well in some plants they do. That’s really kinky. So homosexuality is normal, and has been around for a lot longer than humans, and has the benefit of being one of the factors that can limit population growth, because as Calhoun’s behavioral sink theory states, you just going forth and multiplying can be a disaster on a population.

            And remember every earthworm is gay cause they are hermaphrodites.

            1. Recent literature disagrees with at least some of what you say. Yes, homosexual behavior can be found in many species, but homosexual lifestyle is almost never found in animals. The only exception is sheep in captivity, but not in their natural environment. So the “unnatural” argument is not completely debunked. The homosexual lifestyle has occurred after we evolved from other primates, and almost exclusively in our species alone.

            2. Hey Tiger thanks for your post. I never distinguished between homosexual behavior and lifestyle so I’m not sure what you mean. I do like to keep an open mind so please if you can guide me to some of this recent literature you talk about I’d appreciate it.

              I consider sheep in captivity to be a natural environment. Humans are natural and any fence I’ve ever seen are made from all natural elements. I simply don’t get this concept of “unnatural” as I see natural as all encompassing. Humans are natural, what they create is natural, as natural as a beaver dam, a termite house and so on.

              I can infer by your term of “homosexual lifestyle” that you may mean constant homosexual behavior as opposed to homosexual behavior then heterosexual behavior. I consider that to be bisexual.

              Good food for thought though, I see a lot of people are expressing ideas, that’s always good.

            3. What is a “homosexual lifestyle”? Living in trendy neighborhoods? Being fabulous decorators? Knowing how to dress well? Enjoying musicals?

              You’re right. I’ve never seen any animal species do any of those.

            4. Let me clarify that. Most of the stuff I post here is from Wiki and in this case it can be substantiated by other sources. Personally I preferred referred journals myself.

              I think if you do your own research you’ll find that the concepts I’m putting forth are not outlandish.

            5. I’ve always distinguished constructive criticism from destructive criticism as such:

              Destructive criticism attacks what you have done without providing an alternative. You may want to take that into consideration if you ever wish to offer constructive criticism.

              There are lots of other reference available online that I could point out, but I’ll make it personal. I’ve seen first hand some amazing animal orgies and believe me when these critters are breeding any ideas of monogamy, heterosexual, homosexual is tossed out the window. It’s breed every one.

              Maybe now you can make it a personal attack on my observation of facts. That’s usually where those who have a fetish for destructive criticism end up.

              Based on my personal experience of course.

          2. “Homosexuality is nothing more than a malfunction of the normal.”

            Well I have Type 1 diabetes. That is a “malfunction of the Normal” yet you cannot discriminate against me for that either despite whatever your chosen religion may tell you.

          3. While your post makes sense from a purely natural biological standpoint, humans are no longer natural. We’ve evolved so quickly and population has grown so quickly, that’s why everything is out of balance. We are also capable of adapting to the situation, and that situation today is that many people are attracted to the same sex, whether that’s become the opposite sex. I agree *something* is not wired the same in the brain, call it what you will. Humans are no longer governed purely by what nature intended.

          4. “How many AIDS cases have been caused by my ‘bigotry’?”
            None I suppose, but how many lynchings have taken place because of the bigotry you display?

          1. Yes, we on the left are intolerant to your bigotry. You can practice your religion all you want, and it’s fine with me. But the minute you start telling me how I can act based on YOUR religion — which is not the same as mine, by the way — is the minute I can start calling YOU intolerant.

            Imagine if orthodox Jews started passing ordinances that banned the sale of shellfish and the closure of all stores on Saturday. Or, worse!, a law was passed in Dearborn MI that outlawed the sale of bacon and all foods not prepared properly (Halal). You’d probably call that pretty intolerant, right?

            1. Actually. I can’t wait until some Atheist starts throwing out Christain marriage applicants.

              Or better yet, all Arab run convenience stores and gas stations put up “No Christain” signs.

            2. The discrimination Christians endure in Muslim-majority countries is already happening, and has happened for centuries. If you look beyond the borders of your own country.

              (BTW, I live in a Muslim-majority country so I know what I’m talking about).

        3. Here’s what you religious bigots in the South don’t understand: you may believe ANYTHING YOU WANT. But you cannot act on it because you believe it.

          For example, I can believe that God was created by man and the reverse has yet to be proven, therefore, I believe you are an ignoramus and a threat to the development of mankind. But I can’t refuse to sell you a computer because I think you are too stupid to understand that the laws of physics weren’t suspended on 7 days between Christ’s birth and death.

          Believe what you want. But, like a jihadist mentally incompetent ISIS terrorist, acting on that belief to bring physical or emotional distress to others that don’t share your belief BECAUSE they don’t share your belief is illegal, not religious freedom. The law and religion are not synonyms unless you are a crazy-assed mental case with a hard-on for fairy tales that end with you doing 72 virgins.

          Hatred in the name of love and religious freedom is like saying slavery was good for the slaves because they got fed and housed.

          I wish Southerners would begin to appreciate knowledge more than faith.

      2. God-given?
        Then why don’t you obey God’s commands about sex???
        You mock God and disregard His Word. God is very specific about this topic and leaves no room for interpretation.

        You actually don’t acknowledge that these rights come from God because then you would need to acknowledge His authority to impose a moral standard which you reject. If you reject God’s moral standard then you have no right to claim any rights that He has granted.

        The left rejects God and in doing so condemn themselves. They also are the most intolerant segment of the population. As a Christian that acknowledges God’s authority in my life with Jesus as the center of it, I acknowledge that you have the right to live life as you please. You can either accept or reject God. I won’t call you names or spew any hatred against you as you do to those who disagree with you.

        We could discuss sin (where it comes from), morals and the choices we make but your mind is not open to consider the possibility that you may be wrong. All of our actions have consequences and in the end it is God who determines what those consequences will be.

        1. Do I need to repeat Martin’s Sheen’s speech from the pilot episode of The West Wing. You want to follow “God’s” law? Then you must follow all of it. Including the stoning of fornicators and adulterers and beheadings and the crap about clothing of mixed fibers.
          Are you ready to live in a theocracy. Feel free to move to one. The USA ain’t yours.

          1. Wow, kaplanmike! You put your complete ignorance of the Christian religion, the Law and the fulfillment thereof on public display. Feel free to go back to TV viewing for theology surely ain’t yours!

            1. Yes, but plucking passages from Leviticus is where most of the right-wing hate comes from. The New Testament is supposedly all about love. So where’s the love for your neighbor when that neighbor is gay?

        2. “God was created by man, the reverse has yet to be proven.” (Serge Gainsbourg)

          The Bible was a government project and nothing got published unless King James himself said it was alright.

          So y’all need to stop your puffed up self-righteousness and go pray in a closet as you Savior instructed.

          1. Good Lord, that book is terrible. His argumentation and exegesis are really, really bad.

            There are far better theologians who do a better job arguing a pro-gay viewpoint that him.

      3. At least in Mississippi they know that men use the Men’s Room and Women use the Women’s Room. And the government does not permit Men to go into the Women’s Room with your eight year old daughter. Now, in California, being enlightened, everyone can choose whether they want to expose themselves to women, girls, young boys, old men on any given day, based on one’s feelings about their “gender” that day. So, parents, tell your kids never to use public restrooms in California because the pervert population uses public restrooms for their entertainment and recruiting activities.

      4. Perhaps I will move to that state and surprise Governor Bryant with my “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions”! You can take that ill-conceived law to the Moon and beyond in terms of interpretation. Just imagine the potential variety of moral convictions that one might have. Or the interesting religions and associated sets of religious beliefs that one might develop. The field is wide open, ladies and gentlemen!

        I suddenly developed a strong moral conviction of abhorring politicians named “Phil” who live in Mississippi…

      5. All of this Southern blasting reminds me of the day a few years ago when I had a lay-over in the Detroit airport for an international flight, and the Headlines in one of the Detroit Papers at a Kiosk: “Michigan KKK.” (No it wasn’t a tabloid either. )

        I guess the South should lambast the racist North for KKK activity!

    2. Perhaps I will move to that state and surprise Governor Bryant with my “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions”! You can take that ill-conceived law to the Moon and beyond in terms of interpretation. Just imagine the potential variety of moral convictions that one might have. Or the interesting religions and associated sets of religious beliefs that one might develop. The field is wide open, ladies and gentlemen!

      I suddenly developed a strong moral conviction of abhorring politicians named “Phil” who live in Mississippi…

    1. So then you agree that religion should not be an excuse to deny service…?
      Ok, if I take a hog into a Muslim or Jewish butcher shop then you say that they must butcher it. Because that’s what they do. They cut meat. Religious belief be damned?

      1. Manco, Good thought but you take it to the extreme.
        If I sell the service of butchering meat, I may state that I do not do Buffalo, tiger….. etc. And that is OK. I may not state that I do not service people using the code name “Manco”.

        The key here is religion can not be used just cause you don’t like someone. You may specify what services you offer.


        1. Not clear. The point is not based on who I am but what I want you to do. If you don’t butcher my hog, is it because of me or because of your religious belief. Anybody could bring a hog in to have it processed. If a butcher shop wants to exclude the butchering of pigs because of religious belief then I support that.
          The same way a bakery shouldn’t have to bake a cake for a gay wedding. I live near the Gresham, OR couple who didn’t want to make a cake for something that goes against their beliefs. At the time, gay weddings were illegal in Oregon. To put it in plain terms, they were being asked to participate in an illegal ceremony.
          Any business should be able to use their best judgment not to serve someone if they feel it’s wrong.
          A gun store owner can sell guns all day to people who pass a background check. But if a person who passed a check says he’s buying it to go kill someone well then, should the owner then give him the gun. With your reasoning he should still have to sell them the gun.
          Or is it ok to not sell it to them because of what it’s going to be used for? Answer that honestly.
          I mean the examples are numerous.
          A grocery store owner selling 50 rolls of toilet paper and 10 dozen eggs to teenagers. That one’s obvious. Right?

      2. Manco, you have it backwards. The butcher shop must sell their products to all customers without discrimination. The shop cannot be required to sell any product that the owners don’t want to sell, such as pork, if they don’t want to sell pork.

        A Ford dealer must sell his Fords to all customers without discrimination, but you cannot force a Ford dealer to sell Jeeps.

        Furthermore, a bakery must sell any of their cakes to all customers, without discrimination. They cannot be required to bake a particular kind of cake that they don’t want to bake, such as one that says “god hates fags”.

        That is, a business must sell to anyone without discrimination. However they are allowed to discriminate with regards to what it is that they sell.

        1. Maybe I’m in to that sort of thing. You’re not discriminating against me are you? That’s my lifestyle choice and you HAVE to accept it.
          And while we’re at it, I want a special restroom just for people like me.

  1. Apple CEO Tim Cook:

    Mississippi’s Religious Freedom Act is very dangerous for TLBG folks! Also, don’t forget that you can pick up an iPhone in Saudi Arabia* today!

    *Where they behead TLBG folks with no qualms

    1. You can also pick it up in Mississippi.

      The point is, Apple will do business wherever there is business to be done. That does not prevent them from voicing their opinion about matters that may influence the way they do business.

      And more importantly, if you hadn’t known, Mississippi is a state in the United States, the country in which Apple is headquartered. Saudi Arabia is an independent country, completely separate from Mississipi (and the United States).

      As an entity that is incorporated and headquartered in the US, Apple is entitled to publicly voice opinion on the laws of the land and influence legislators if they don’t like those laws.

  2. Ok so men use mens bathrooms and mens locker rooms and women use women’s bathrooms and locker rooms. Gay couples vote with their dollars and use gay friendly vendors for their weddings. Don’t like it – move out of Mississippi to California, Colorado, or Vermont. I just can’t go along with men using women’s bathrooms and especially women’s locker rooms. Gender Identity issues are sad and unfortunate but making everyone else suffer too isn’t “fair” its nonsense. Of course these poor folks deserve to live their lives and cope as best they can but we should not deconstruct society to make them feel better, we should give them the same safe environment all kids need and deserve but just like other special needs kids they have to learn to adjust how they live and deal with society.

    1. TT, ” Gay couples vote with their dollars and use gay friendly vendors for their weddings. Don’t like it – move out of Mississippi to California, Colorado, or Vermont.”

      Sadly you do not see the slippery slope of that comment. Yes which gender one is can be an iffy item vs which bathroom one uses. At least the ladies room only has stalls which are private.

      Don’t like servicing someone because of their religion or sexual preference???? Then consider the ambulance person who asks you what your church is before he saves your life. Or the med-evac pilot who does not want to fly you to the hospital cause you are white (maybe he is black?).

    2. So, in your world, a person who was born a woman but has had extensive surgery, hormone replacement therapy, and years of psychotherapy and thus from all outward appearance and all clinical appearance and all social interaction nuances is a man, then that person should use a woman’s public restroom just because that person’s birth certificate says the person was born a woman?

      What would the women in that public restroom say and how would they react if someone who clearly looked and acted like a man walked into a woman’s restroom and used the toilet standing up? Would they call the police on this individual? Quite possibly. If that happened would that individual have to go through extensive questioning by the police possibly even enduring a full body search as proof of the person’s physical nature? Again, quite possibly. Could the person possibly be held until a friend or relative showed up with the original birth certificate to prove that the individual was just following the law? Quite likely. Is it quite possible that some judge could fine that individual for some illegal form of voyeurism (especially if underage women were in that restroom)? Again, quite possibly.

      So in your “they have to learn to adjust how they live and deal with society” they should just never use a public restroom? If they are at a restaurant and need to use the restroom, they need to pay their bill, leave and hurry home — possibly risking urinary or intestinal complications by the time they get there?

      1. I have enjoyed your comments thank you for posting. On your comment above we as a society have agreed that people who have successfully “transitioned” including sexual reassignment surgery ARE women so Women’s restrooms are for them (we even reissue their birth certificates in most states). The situation you outline in paragraph 2 IS the issue. That is what SHOULD happen but we appear to be moving in a direction where that reaction to the man using a woman bathroom would be illegal. That is what I hope to prevent. I DO NOT want trans children or adults to not have a place to go to the restroom that would be a true injustice. I am certain that I have been in restrooms with true trans folks. Was not an issue. If someone goes into a womans room who does not look like a woman – there is an issue, that person should further “transition” before making the change or use the facility provided for them.

  3. It’s really pretty simple.

    You get your business license from the government. The government (supposedly) represents all people fairly (at least that is the premise in the U.S. as to how governments are supposed to work). Therefore your business MUST treat all people equally and fairly as that business license allows you to operate under an authorization from that government.

    You don’t get your religion from the government. Therefore if you form a church or perform PURELY religious services (non business services) you get to practice your religion as you wish. (There are obvious exceptions of course. If your religious belief is that you must repeatedly go into crowded theaters and yell, “Fire!”, then that would not be allowed due to the public hazard.)

    However, you can’t claim that you get to push your religious beliefs by means of a business licensed by the government. If you want to do *everything* in your life according to your religious beliefs then don’t interact in any way with any people outside those people who 100% support and are in tune with your religious beliefs.

    Several years ago a person formally lost his standing with his church. A good standing with the church was required to have a job at the church doing work solely within the church’s organization. No one within the church was not of that religion, and it was an up front acknowledgement that persons working within the church had to have good standing within the church. The fired individual sued claiming discrimination. He lost. It was not a public interface issue. It was something 100% within the confines and operations of the religion.

    Outward interactions of religious people and religious organizations are a different thing.

    1. Shadow. WOW, that was a simple and great explanation of the situation. All these commenters (like those who are not registered) who like to push a situation just to make their point see to like to confuse a difficult situation more than it has to be.

    2. Hmmm…I wonder if a business has a sign that says No Shirt, No Shoes, No service. If somebody walked in and said their religion requires them to not wear shoes, and were denied service, if they could sue and if the business would be protected?

      1. Maybe that’s why Steve Jobs became such a workaholic. Always barefoot, he couldn’t find an eatery that would serve him, so he took his meals in his garage and during meetings. He badly needed to succeed in business, so that he could afford to open his own, non-discriminatory company cafeteria.

      2. I suppose that would depend on how disruptive not wearing shoes would be to the establishment providing a proper level of service to the other patrons. Your rights only extend as far as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of another.

      3. trondude, you have your proposal backwards. Businesses are permitted to establish dress codes. Dress codes do not discriminate against people for who they are. A convenience store by the beach may allow customers without shirts or shoes, if they wish. On the other hand, a posh restaurant may not only require shirts and shoes, but may ban sneakers and require that diners wear a coat. What they must not do is refuse service based on an intrinsic characteristic of who their customer is.

        1. I was trying to stay out of this, but…

          It is simply not the case that “Dress codes do not discriminate against people for who they are.” Some religion have mandatory dress codes that can—and do—clash with secular dress codes. What if a store prohibits Orthodox Jews, Muslim women, or Catholic nuns from wearing head coverings? What if it prohibits the wearing of a crucifix or a LDS garment on company premises. What if a school requires Amish girls to wear typical swimsuits to a mixed-gender pool in a required gym class? The Swiss schools are forcing male students to shake hands with female teachers despite a religious prohibition of inter-gender contact; is that permitted in the US under the 1st Amendment? Many places prohibit Sikh men from wearing the kirpan (a knife or small sword) that is a religious requirement for them.

          Discrimination against any of those constitutes direct discrimination against a religious practice and thus against observant religious practitioners. A public accommodation that excludes observant Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Muslims, Mormons, and Sikhs sort of stops being a public accommodation.

          Perhaps you are arguing that businesses (or the government) can discriminate against religious practices, but not religious beliefs. So, could a state prohibit religious circumcision or the use of wine at Mass? No circumcision = No Jews. No Mass = No Catholics. That sounds like religious discrimination to me, even as a Protestant.

          In fact, most Western governments do prohibit genital mutilation in females, notwithstanding its religious basis in some African cultures. They also prohibit folks with sincerely-held Aztec beliefs from conducting human sacrifices. Santeria believers have limitations on animal sacrifices, too.

          In fact, we do not have unrestricted religious freedom in America and the courts have found that entirely consistent with the First Amendment. The question is whether the particular limit on religious conduct is the least restrictive reasonable means to accomplish a legitimate secular aim. If it is not, religion wins. If it is, religion loses. This is not as simple a question as it first appears.

    1. Please don’t tell me you think that’s in the constitution. But the Christian worldview has just as much right in the public square of ideas as any other.

      1. The WORLDVIEW has a right in the public square, what it does not have is the right to force that view on others. The right-wing christians of today want the law to fit their world-view, and theirs only. They idiotically consider themselves discriminated against when they are not allowed to do that. This law, and others like it are bad law, singling out a particular group to allow public discrimination against that is not allowed against any other group. And if religious people REALLY want to use their religious views to make law, then perhaps they should be required to prove any of their religion has a basis in fact, starting with god himself. Belief≠Fact.

  4. The only acceptable form of bigotry in this country is against Christians. Mississippi will probably pay for this, but I hope they stick to their beliefs.

    1. Are they closing churches? Are they imprisoning pastors, preachers, imans or rabbis? Are you denied work because you believe in God? Have you been beaten because you were seen coming out of a Bible Study class late one night?

      Then stfu about “bigotry against Christians”. You clearly have no idea what real bigotry is.

      1. Christians are openly being discriminated against. I do not see people slamming Islam because of its stand against homosexuality (you think they would come after you?) As poster above commented, Islamic states KILL homosexuals. Christians love the person, not the act.

        1. Pablo PH, what are you talking about with “Islamic states”? We’re talking about the United States of America where Moslems, Jews, Hindus and even Christians are supposed to all live happily together. You have your argument backwards by even bringing up Islamic states. Christians in the USA are organized and politically active in their attempt to systematically deny gays and lesbians their basic civil rights. I do not see Islamic people becoming political active within the USA to deny gays and lesbian basic civil rights. In fact, Islamic people in the USA are also the subject of hatred wielded against them by Christians. Haven’t you heard the anti-Islamic rhetoric from some of our supposedly Christian presidential candidates?

    2. Pass the tissues, another Christian with a computer, an education, a white-sounding name and probably a job is whining about persecution again.

      Ready? BOO HOOOOO!

      You know RonB, Jesus went peacefully to his persecution, relying on the faith in his Father to help him through his trial. He did not defend himself. He willingly went to his brutal death, complaining to no one except asking His Heavenly Father to take this cup away from him.

      Follow his example and stop whining.

    1. Thank you! I just listened to a politician making a speech. It had about 14 points in it. Seven of them were about how evil the Government is for restricting Americans’ freedom. Seven of them were about new laws needed to enforce American values. How can you have it both ways?

  5. People in this country are supposed to have religious liberties without the government coming down on them. if I run a business, I should have the right to serve whomever I please without ANY interference from the government. If enough people patronize my business to keep me in business great, if people stay away because I chose not to service certain types of people then I’ll go out of business

    The problem is that this is not being remotely applied fairly. if your a Muslim business, and they discriminate against LGBT people, I can 100% guarantee they’ll get a pass.. and you may never hear it happened.

    Since when does sexual preference out-weigh religious liberty? This country was founded on that principle. I don”t give a rip what people do in their bedrooms, However they should not be able to tell anyone how to run their business, or have government force their sexual preference down my throat or anyone else’s. Not to mention, decide that Men, who somehow think they are a woman can enter any woman’s restroom they please. Or vice versa.. its not right, never will be,

    1. Not that long ago, it wasn’t “right” that people with different colored skin could marry each other. Not that long before that, it wasn’t “right” that women could vote. Not that long before that, it was “right” that a man could not be charged with beating his wife. Not that long ago before that, it was “right” that a person could be bought and sold. Not that long before that, it was “right” that someone could be tortured and killed for not being a Christian. Not that long before that, it was “right” that a man could have several wives, sell off his daughters as concubines and participate in the public stoning of someone accused but not proven to be guilty of disagreeing with your religion….

      1. As recently as 1968, I personally heard the national campaign director for an American presidential campaign tell a roomful of people that he loved black people just like we did, but they should not be able to marry our sisters. If pressed, he would have quoted Scripture to justify his sincere religious belief that race-mixing was contrary to the Word of God.

        Like me, he was old enough to have met some of the last few people who remembered slavery. Unlike me, he was not convinced that emancipation was an unmixed blessing, since it had promoted sinful behavior from uppity folks who could not accept their place but insisted on disrupting Our Way of Life. Again, he would have insisted that his position was required by his faith in Christ and the Bible as interpreted by most of the churches in his home town.

        His candidate got 9,901,000 popular votes (13.53%) and 46 electoral votes. Sometimes it seems like deja vu all over again.

  6. Folks, I am from Mississippi. I personally think this law is pathetic. All I can say is this is about the most important thing in politics, MONEY. It’s about squashing freedom under the guise of freedom. Those that are christian and side with this law far outnumber those that feel the law is unjust. They also have way deeper pockets come election time. The money always wins. That really should be printed on our currency.

  7. Look on the positive side. This opens up a new field of employment for the less educated: “Strongly Held Religious Beliefs Bathroom Monito”r. You know they’re going to be needed. If a person, dressed as a woman, goes into a womens restroom, how would the business owner know if they were authorized to use that facility if they didn’t check? Get ready for good times, ladies. Yet more misogyny from the right.

  8. Guess Apple needs to close all Mississippi and North Carolina Apple stores and not allow anybody using those states addresses to order anything from them. But will they? Nope. Almighty dollar will always take precedence, no matter what. Watch and see.

    1. As I said above, Apple will do business wherever it can; that includes, Saudi Arabia, Russia, soon likely even Cuba.

      That does not prevent them from expressing their objections over local, regional or national legislation that they believe is detrimental to business.

    2. I think Apple will do business everywhere they can, after all they even do business in a nation known to torture people. It’s only by doing business with these backward nations that Apple can bring them into the light of civilization.

      1. Hell, they even do business in countries where law enforcement officers routinely shoot unarmed civilians, where businesses foster massive fraud, in addition to torturing people. The good ol’ USA.

  9. Finally some advancement: “This bill states that it protects “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions,” including a belief that marriage is only between a man and a woman.”

    Forget the some sex marriage, where marriage is between a man or a woman.
    Forget the same sex marriage, where marriage is between you and someone of the same sex.
    This is about sum sex marriages, where now bisexuals can now properly marry a man and a woman. It’s a huge step forward for bisexuals.

    And to think that country was once considered sexually repressed.

    Do I really need to add a /shjtt tag here? Of course I do, the /shjtt tag stands for satire, humor, joke, tall tale cause while folks from the free and civilized world will get the joke, some of the folks from the other less fortunate, not very great nations won’t.

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