Mississippi Doesn’t Know What Can of Worms They Just Opened
So, the governor of Mississippi has just declared to the world that he is the leader of a hugely backward state and the state couldn’t care less about the US Constitution. Today, he sighed a bill into law. Bill SB-268 1 says (in part)
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
and its purpose is to
A person whose exercise of religion has been burdened or is likely to be burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the state or a political subdivision of the state is a party to the proceeding. The person asserting that claim or defense may obtain appropriate relief, including relief against the state or a political subdivision of the state. Appropriate relief includes, but is not limited to, injunctive relief, declaratory relief, compensatory damages, and the recovery of costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
Where “burden” means
“Burden” means any action that directly or indirectly constrains, inhibits, curtails or denies the exercise of religion by any person or compels any action contrary to a person’s exercise of religion. “Burden” includes, but is not limited to, withholding benefits, assessing criminal, civil or administrative penalties or exclusion from governmental programs or access to governmental facilities.
And “exercise of religion” means
“Exercise of religion” means the practice or observance of religion. “Exercise of religion” includes, but is not limited to, the ability to act or the refusal to act in a manner that is substantially motivated by one’s sincerely held religious belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.
This is obviously as unconstitutional as anything ever written.
The moment this was signed into law, a dozen lawyers representing dozens of organizations probably filed suit in their local US Court. Is the Republican party really just a jobs program for lawyers?
Regardless, I absolutely cannot wait for the first time a Muslim or Pagan (or atheist for that matter) refuses to serve a Christian and kicks them out of their establishment for their ‘sincerely held’ religious beliefs (or lack thereof). I’m just going to laugh and laugh.
I doubt it will ever come to that though. The bill is slated to go into effect July 1, 2014. I’m confident that there will be a federal injunction against it in days.
The whole point of this bill is to enshrine Christian beliefs into state law. It’s been called the LGBT discrimination act. What it really is, is an anti-Christian discrimination act. Of course, they can’t call it that, but that’s what the intention is. I’m really curious if the legislators are so dumb as to think that their “sincerely held beliefs” are the only ‘sincerely held beliefs’ that exist in the US.
The other point, is that for all these people are all about religious freedom, it’s the same religious freedom that brought the Quakers to the US originally. Religious freedom for themselves and screw everyone else.
When our government and religious leaders cry about Sharia Law being implemented in the US, then they pass laws like this… well… let’s just say my irony meter needs a new fuse.
Thinking more about this law for a minute… Recently there was a woman who murdered her young child because she thought he was possessed. Using this law, she can get away with murder. It’s her sincerely held religious belief that her son was a demon.
I could go on with examples all day long. A construction worker who gets a small cut and sticks his finger in his mouth could be fired by a Jehovah’s Witness manager. A Jew could sue a grocery store for selling shrimp or crawfish. Although the last would be an interesting case. What level of burden would have to be claimed? The Jew could go to another store, but if the one selling shellfish is closer, then that would put a burden on the person.
It doesn’t matter. This is really just grandstanding. No one expects this to stay a legal law, including, I suspect, the people who signed and voted for it. It’s a statement that their religion is more important than their oaths to the government or their constituents. And I hope that everyone in Mississippi sees that.
 Which only seems to exist in the minds of their constituents.