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Monday, March 21, 2016

Ignorance and Hypocrisy Abound over Georgia’s Religious Liberty Bill

I suppose none of us should be surprised that the apologists for homosexuality are also capable of rampant and unrepentant hypocrisy. Nevertheless, the duplicity recently on display in Georgia belongs in the hypocrisy hall of fame.

After the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous Obergefell decision, and after previous efforts at a religious liberty bill failed, and in order to protect its citizens from the militant homosexual agenda, legislators in Georgia felt renewed urgency to join over 30 other U.S. states which have similar religious liberty legislation or provisions.

The debate raged for months. Throughout this period, the media in Georgia was saturated with articles and commentary on how bad such legislation would be for the state. Corporations across Georgia and the U.S., along with local sports teams were not shy about letting their voices be heard. With unsurprising unanimity, they came down on the side of the perverse homosexual agenda. And of course, the word “discrimination” was hurled around indiscriminately.

Virgin CEO Richard Branson tweeted out, “Georgia must stop discrimination in the name of religious freedom.” Yet, Virgin Group is a worldwide conglomerate and does business in places like The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and Oman. LGBT “rights” are non-existent in these Islamic nations. Both The UAE and Saudi Arabia allow for the death penalty as punishment for homosexual behavior.

Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Inc., tweeted, “I agree and proud @SecureWorks joined against Georgia Bill that Shields Discrimination Against Gays.” Dell has offices in Communist China (enough said) and Singapore. Male-on-male sexual activity is illegal in Singapore. Additionally, Singapore has no recognition whatsoever of same-sex couples.

With a tweet that included the headline, “A Georgia Bill Shields Discrimination Against Gays,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said, “We agree with the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce on keeping Georgia a great place to do business.” It seems that for Microsoft a “great place to do business” also includes places like Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Additionally, of Newsweek’s “Top Twelve Most Homophobic Nations,” Microsoft does business in nine of them.

Other companies such as Coca-Cola, Google, Intel, and so on, are guilty of the same kind of hypocrisy. In late February of this year, after the Georgia Senate passed what Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson called “a good bill that protects religious freedom,” he noted the “cultural cronyism” engaged in by corporate giants such as Hilton Worldwide, Marriott and InterContinental Hotels Group. As Anderson puts it, “Businesses in Georgia were always free to embrace gay marriage—to bake wedding cakes for gay marriages and make floral arrangements for same-sex nuptials—and many do, but now they want the government to force everyone in Georgia to do the same.”

Anderson also notes, “But if every Hilton, Marriott, and InterContinental hotel in Georgia already hosts receptions for newlywed same-sex couples—why can’t Georgia protect the mom-and-pop bed-and-breakfast or local Knights of Columbus hall that has a different set of beliefs about marriage? This law doesn’t harm minority rights; it protects them in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage.

“The hypocrisy of big business lobbying against the law is astounding. They want to be free to operate in Georgia according to their values, but they don’t want small-business competitors to be free to operate according to theirs. If all of the major corporations are already in favor of gay marriage, then this religious freedom law poses no threat. It merely protects the rights of those who disagree.”

The hypocrisy is even more astounding when we see that Hilton Worldwide has hotels in China, Egypt, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the like. Marriott has hotels or resorts in Algeria, China, Egypt, and India. You get the idea.

With the aid of Georgia taxpayers (most of whom are against same-sex marriage), the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons are building a fancy new stadium. This state-of-the-art stadium has helped place Georgia in the running to host a Super Bowl in the near future. Multiple stories have run in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution warning that, “If Georgia chooses to turn the ‘religious liberty’ bill into law, be prepared: Atlanta may not get a Super Bowl.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy is quoted as saying, “NFL policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard. Whether the laws and regulations of a state and local community are consistent with these policies would be one of many factors NFL owners may use to evaluate potential Super Bowl host sites.”

Along with Atlanta, other cities in the running for the next several Super Bowls are New Orleans, Tampa Bay, and Miami. With its warm, sunny climate, Florida has long been a favorite Super Bowl destination for the NFL. Never mind that Florida has a Religious Freedom law, and has since 1998. What’s more, there have been five Super Bowls in Florida (in 3 different cities) since 1998. Will the NFL now hold the Sunshine State to the same standard as Georgia? Texas also has a RFRA law, and it was in place when the new Cowboys Stadium housed the Super Bowl in 2011. Will Texas (a more conservative state than GA) now hold no more Super Bowls? (Next year’s Super Bowl is in Houston.)

Additionally, as Kyle Wingfield of the AJC points out, "In fact, the history of the Super Bowl since 1997 — when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the federal RFRA did not apply to state and local governments — shows the vast majority of the games have been played in (or awarded to, in the case of the 2017 and 2018 games) states with similar laws on the questions of religious liberty and LGBT rights:

  • Fourteen out of the 21 were, or will be, played in states that by statute or court precedent use the “strict scrutiny” legal standard set by RFRA. The seven exceptions include the 2002 game in New Orleans, before Louisiana passed its RFRA, and the 2012 game in Indianapolis, before Indiana passed its RFRA.
  • Twelve of the 21 have no LGBT non-discrimination laws regarding employment; another four have laws affecting only public employees.
  • Sixteen of the 21 have no LGBT non-discrimination laws regarding housing.
  • Sixteen of the 21 have no LGBT non-discrimination laws regarding public accommodations."

Following passage of the legislation, all of the major professional teams in Georgia—the Atlanta Braves, Falcons, and Hawks—issued statements that sided with the homosexual agenda. The statements decried the so-called “discrimination” of the legislation and spoke of “inclusion.” It evidently escapes these organizations that professional sports teams are some of the most “discriminating” organizations in America.

In the combined 276-year history of MLB, the NFL, and the NBA, no woman has ever been a regular member of any of those leagues. For decades U.S. women have been excluded from the glory and the riches enjoyed by male professional athletes in America. Thanks to Obama and his minions, even the U.S. military has “seen the light” when it comes to women in combat. How dare these sports organizations continue to “discriminate” when it comes to women!

Of course, we all “discriminate” regularly. In fact, as I’ve pointed out before, “U.S. law itself is an instrument of comprehensive discrimination.” Though liberals never admit such, EVERY position in the marriage debate—including that of the Supreme Court—“discriminates.” You almost never hear homosexual apologists clamoring for the “rights” of the polygamous, incestuous, “throuples” (which is now promoted in a new TV show), and the like.

Nevertheless, the left’s cries of “discrimination” have been effective. Both the Georgia Speaker of the House, David Ralston, and Georgia Governor, Nathan Deal, capitulated to the point of using the language of the left when describing the noble efforts of Georgia legislators who wanted to protect Georgians from the tyranny of modern liberalism. Deal threatened a veto, and in a lame attempt to make his case, went so far as to use Scripture.

Thus, the “good bill” described by Ryan Anderson was gutted. Although the previous bill was already lacking, the language of the new legislation, “significantly waters down a religious freedom bill that had real force.” Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council declared that “timid lawmakers caved to misinformation campaigns from the Left and threats from big business. The bill, which was never as strong as it should have been, is now a tattered fig leaf now that House Speaker David Ralston has gutted the real protections for Georgia’s men and women of faith.”

Of course, the very premise of this debate is absurd. The idea that we need to protect citizens, small businesses, or whomever, who wish to hold to the definition of marriage that has prevailed for millennia the world over is further sign of the decline (if not the death) of our culture. As modern liberalism frequently demonstrates, when one abandons eternal truth, there is virtually no limit to the extremeness, hypocrisy, and folly that will follow.

After our relationship with our Creator, the most important relationship in the universe is the relationship between a husband and his wife. Marriage is the oldest institution in the history of humanity—older than God's covenant with the nation of Israel, older than The Law, older than the church. Marriage is one of the earliest truths revealed by God. If ANYTHING is true, marriage as the union of one man and one woman is true. On this, there can NEVER be compromise.

(See a version of this column at American Thinker.)

(See also: Governor Deal Sides with the Sodomites.)

Copyright 2016, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

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