Although Georgia lawmakers attempted to protect the religious freedom of constituents in that state, the governor had other ideas. Nathan Deal vetoed the bill, which would have shielded Christians from government retaliation for refusing to service or celebrate homosexual “weddings” and a lifestyle that conflicts with their faith.
“Our Constitution exists to protect individual freedom and define and limit the role of government,” Star Parker wrote in a recent column. “It does not exist to use government power to force the set of values of one private citizen on other. Governor Deal is right that today ‘the world is changing.” But he has drawn the wrong conclusion. The fact that today many citizens embrace values that our parents and grandparents never would have dreamed of means we should be even more vigilant now in protecting individual freedom and religious liberty. Government power should be used to ensure that citizens can follow their own consciences in conducting their religious and business affairs on their own private property.”
Many Christians are disappointed in Gov. Deal, a professing Christian. Garland Hunt, a Georgia pastor, said this about the veto:
“I was outraged to hear that our Governor had chosen to turn his back on the entire Faith based community in the state of Georgia when he chose to Veto HB 757: the Equal Protection Act also called The Religious Liberty Bill. The bill did two things. Protected the 1st amendment rights of ministers and faith based organizations. Secondly, it required the government to prove a compelling state interest to violate a persons exercise of religion.
“He justified his veto I saying, ‘I do not respond very well to insults or threats.’ Referring to calls to his office from very emotional faith based citizens of Georgia.
“Indeed, he sided with the economic threats of Coca-Cola, Disney, the NFL and Hollywood. The NFL threatened to deny Atlanta a future Super Bowl, and Disney/ Marvel threatened to relocate.
“Governor Deal is quoted as saying, ‘Perhaps we should heed the hands-off admonition of the First Amendment.’ Our Founders acknowledged that our rights come from God, not government, insisted that it was the job of government to ensure those rights. If Gov. Deal can’t understand the difference between the origin of our inalienable rights, and the duty of government officials to protect them, then he ought to take a remedial course in civics.”
Read or listen to the full comment here.