Georgia Governor Nathan Deal can teach us an important lesson or two about religious liberty.
By John Stonestreet, Breakpoint commentaries.
I remember when I first heard Chuck Colson, on a BreakPoint commentary years ago, make a distinction between religious liberty and freedom of worship. “Freedom of worship,” a phrase being used more and more Chuck warned, is the freedom to believe what you want in the privacy of your own mind, and maybe inside the doors of your house of worship. But what the founders had in mind was much more robust—the freedom to carry our deeply held beliefs into the public square and allow them to shape our lives.
As I admitted to him later, I thought Chuck was making much ado about nothing with that distinction. But as we’ve clearly seen in how the government has argued for the HHS Mandate and the way the courts have ruled against wedding-related business owners, Chuck was absolutely right.
This week’s incident, however, threatens even that neutered, watered-down version of freedom of worship.
As we talked about yesterday on BreakPoint, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal vetoed HB757, saying the bill “doesn’t reflect the character of our state or the character of our people.” Deal, despite his insistence otherwise, was the latest governor to cave to the well-orchestrated pressure from the NFL, Disney, Salesforce, and the LGBT lobby.
That would be disturbing enough if this were the same type of religious freedom bill that caused so much trouble in Arizona and Indiana. But as Ryan Anderson notes at the Daily Signal, this bill offered no protections for florists, photographers, bakers or other wedding-related professionals to live by their religious convictions. This bill would have only protected the freedoms of ministers from officiating same-sex ceremonies, for faith-based organization from hiring employees whose views undermined their mission, and for protecting churches and their ministries from state government-level discrimination.