Mississippi Phil Bryant participated in an interview with the president of American Family Association yesterday who was predictably elated that Governor Bryant signed an anti-LGBT "religious liberty" bill into law.
I ask if Phil Bryant is a liar or delusional, or some combination of both, because the governor discussed his motivations for signing the bill into law and what he said is not reflected by empirical reality.
"This is about the churches," Bryant said. "The next stop will be American Family Radio and it will be Mississippi College, it will be St. Dominic's Hospital as lawsuits will be filed; it will be churches where pastors can say, 'I can't perform that ceremony,' a lawsuit will be filed, it will go to a federal court and the federal court will say, yes, they should be a protected class, those who choose to marry and want to be married in the church and that church might lose its tax-exempt status and they'll have to close. And church after church after church across this country will close."
"We think people of faith have rights," he continued. "I know that's a strange notion, but we believe the scales of justice must be balanced for those people of faith and those that have other ideas about their desires in life. And that's what the scales of justice must do is be balanced and we believe that this is a step in protecting the civil liberties of people of faith just as the First Amendment of the Constitution does."
It's hard to say if Governor Bryant truly believes this or if he's simply lying and pandering his ass off.
The law is not "about the churches." In fact, churches are barely a footnote in the language of the law. The law encompasses public agencies and institutions and private businesses with no religious affiliations whatsoever. An employee of any establishment need only invoke their "principled beliefs" to deny service to anyone who offends their puritan sensibilities.
Moreover, the idea that a low level federal court is going to force a church to officiate a gay wedding is absurd. Governor Bryant says the intent of the law is to protect civil liberties, but the civil liberties of churches are not at risk. They're already protected by the Constitution and federal law. Governor Bryant's law does, however, threaten the civil liberties of LGBTQ individuals.
Governor Bryant evidently believes public and private employees with deeply held religious delusions should be a protected class but the people they discriminate against should not be.
Liberty for me, not for thee.