New Religious Liberty Fighter Emerges in Georgia

Georgia State Capitol building in Atlanta (photo credit: Connor.carey via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)
Georgia State Capitol building in Atlanta (photo credit: Connor.carey via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

On Monday, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal vetoed the Free Exercise Protection Act, House Bill 757, following intense pressure and dishonest rhetoric from corporate bullies and the political left. Disney, Salesforce, and Apple all publicly criticized the bill, and corporate mainstays like Delta and Coca-Cola, through the business coalition Georgia Prospers, condemned the legislation and threatened punitive measures.

Ironically, these same corporations have, to date, expressed no reservations about making money in countries that put LGBT individuals to death.

But ultimately, Governor Deal caved. And Jane Robbins, a senior fellow at American Principles Project, told The Pulse 2016 that she is incredibly disappointed by Governor Deal’s veto:

HB 757 is a reasonable bill that was crafted to address the concerns the Governor had previously expressed, while protecting Georgians of faith from government discrimination. Polling data shows overwhelming support for the bill from across the state. Two-thirds of Georgians support it, and even a majority of Democrats responded that they wanted the Governor to sign it. The bill passed overwhelmingly in both chambers of the Legislature.

But Governor Deal has chosen to disregard the desires of the vast majority of Georgians and their elected representatives. Instead, he is siding with the Hollywood lobby and corporate bullies who want to coerce Georgians into uniformity of belief on issues related to religious exercise. This position violates not only conservative principles, but American principles.

Robbins has been on the attack elsewhere, too.

From Conservative Review:

Some voices in the state have even called on Deal to reverse his decision in addition to pushing for an override, like Jane Robbins, a Georgian currently working as a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.

“We call on Governor Deal to reverse his shameful appeasement of leftist totalitarian interests and to sign HB 757. We further urge the Georgia legislature to override any veto of HB 757,” Robbins said.

From WorldNetDaily:

Critics say it’s no secret that Deal has been wooing the NFL to bring the Super Bowl to Atlanta in 2019 or 2020.

“Deal’s goal is to get the Super Bowl and the Final Four. Nobody living outside of Atlanta gives two hoots about the Super Bowl but the corporations want it,” said Jane Robbins, senior fellow at the American Principles Project and a native Georgian.

Robbins wondered if Deal would agree to limit the freedom of the press to get the Super Bowl in Atlanta. Or what about freedom of speech or the right to bear arms?

“Which of the Bill of Rights would he be willing to sell or trade away for the Super Bowl?” Robbins asks.

She said religious freedom advocates would not be putting this issue aside.

“The primaries are coming up at the end of May, so when voter guides come out, the candidates are going to have to answer, ‘Will you vote to override Gov. Deal’s veto of the religious liberty law?’

“So the governor thinks we can put this behind us now and move onto something else. Well, no. We’re not giving up on this. If we have to bring it up every year, that’s what we will do.”

And from Fox Chattanooga:

ATLANTA, Ga. — On Tuesday morning, a group of leading pastors, ministers, nine faith groups and conservative organizations held a news conference at the Georgia State Capitol, slamming Governor Nathan Deal’s decision to veto House Bill 757.

Watch Deal’s full remarks here.

Several of the groups included American Principles Project, Citizen Impact, Faith and Freedom Coalition, Georgia Right to Life and Georgia Baptist Mission Board, among others.

Jon Schweppe is Communications Director for the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @JonSchweppe.