Standing up in Mississippi

Bravo to lawmakers in Mississippi who’ve, so far, not allowed big business to bully and intimidate them into changing course on their religious liberty law.  As Jennifer Marshall writes at Religion News, the law is crafted carefully and skillfully with the intent of “diffusing conflict.”

For starters, Mississippi’s new law ensures that churches and other religious groups aren’t punished for declining to host or solemnize weddings that would violate their conscience. Remember the controversy over Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky? Mississippi won’t have that kind of a showdown because the new law ensures everyone eligible for a marriage license gets one without delay while also accommodating individual clerks who want to opt out of issuing marriage licenses altogether.

Mississippi’s policy shows that we can coexist. Why would big business oppose that?

The law also ensures that religious schools and ministries serving those in need can continue to set their personnel and housing policies in accord with their beliefs. (This provision covers only religious organizations, not businesses. The law has nothing to do with business hiring or landlord policies.  Faith-based adoption agencies will be free to continue placing every child they serve with a married mom and dad.

While bakers, a photographer, and a florist in other states have faced massive fines, creative professionals in wedding-related businesses in Mississippi cannot be coerced to use their talents to celebrate same-sex weddings.

The bill guarantees that no one is denied emergency care or hospital visitation privileges.

Confusion around the new law seems to come from media coverage that fails to distinguish its protections for religious organizations -- which do not apply to businesses -- from its much narrower policy concerning a handful of small businesses in a specific circumstance: wedding-related vendors in the context of participating in wedding ceremonies. The only provisions that apply to businesses generally are the assurances that private employers can set their own bathroom and employee dress policies based on their particular circumstances.

Most of the new law is about protecting religious groups and individuals who have a different perspective on marriage. It guarantees their religious freedom while not taking anything away from anyone else. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of differences.

Unfortunately for accommodating Christian conservatives, the left wants no part in kumbaya cooperation.  Instead, everyone must conform to their worldview, mores and ethics – or the lack thereof.

Would the left for a moment tolerate and welcome a coordinated effort by big business to bully and intimidate lawmakers – subsequent to the full legislative process of debate – were the issues immigration, the environment, or wages?

Bravo to lawmakers in Mississippi who’ve, so far, not allowed big business to bully and intimidate them into changing course on their religious liberty law.  As Jennifer Marshall writes at Religion News, the law is crafted carefully and skillfully with the intent of “diffusing conflict.”

For starters, Mississippi’s new law ensures that churches and other religious groups aren’t punished for declining to host or solemnize weddings that would violate their conscience. Remember the controversy over Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky? Mississippi won’t have that kind of a showdown because the new law ensures everyone eligible for a marriage license gets one without delay while also accommodating individual clerks who want to opt out of issuing marriage licenses altogether.

Mississippi’s policy shows that we can coexist. Why would big business oppose that?

The law also ensures that religious schools and ministries serving those in need can continue to set their personnel and housing policies in accord with their beliefs. (This provision covers only religious organizations, not businesses. The law has nothing to do with business hiring or landlord policies.  Faith-based adoption agencies will be free to continue placing every child they serve with a married mom and dad.

While bakers, a photographer, and a florist in other states have faced massive fines, creative professionals in wedding-related businesses in Mississippi cannot be coerced to use their talents to celebrate same-sex weddings.

The bill guarantees that no one is denied emergency care or hospital visitation privileges.

Confusion around the new law seems to come from media coverage that fails to distinguish its protections for religious organizations -- which do not apply to businesses -- from its much narrower policy concerning a handful of small businesses in a specific circumstance: wedding-related vendors in the context of participating in wedding ceremonies. The only provisions that apply to businesses generally are the assurances that private employers can set their own bathroom and employee dress policies based on their particular circumstances.

Most of the new law is about protecting religious groups and individuals who have a different perspective on marriage. It guarantees their religious freedom while not taking anything away from anyone else. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of differences.

Unfortunately for accommodating Christian conservatives, the left wants no part in kumbaya cooperation.  Instead, everyone must conform to their worldview, mores and ethics – or the lack thereof.

Would the left for a moment tolerate and welcome a coordinated effort by big business to bully and intimidate lawmakers – subsequent to the full legislative process of debate – were the issues immigration, the environment, or wages?