Ignore the Spin: Liberal Bullies Failed in North Carolina

Photo credit: Mr. TinDC via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The spin has begun from the results of the North Carolina governor’s race. Even as the votes are still being counted, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is suggesting that Governor Pat McCrory’s tight re-election race should warn Georgia officials against pursuing religious-freedom legislation in the 2017 session. This conclusion, though entirely predictable coming from the AJC, isn’t supported by the facts.

McCrory catapulted into the national spotlight last spring by signing a bill protecting the privacy of women and girls in taxpayer-funded restrooms. This thoroughly unremarkable action provoked the rage of wealthy radical interests from outside the state, who vowed to pull out all stops to defeat him in his re-election bid.

McCrory currently trails challenger Roy Cooper by a paper-thin margin, a few thousand votes, after 70,000 votes belatedly appeared from liberal Durham County. (The media had predicted McCrory would lose by several percentage points. Oops.) Results won’t be known until all provisional, military, and absentee ballots are counted, and there are more than enough votes there to erase Cooper’s tiny lead. But regardless of which way the election tilts, there is no basis for claims that McCrory’s action to protect privacy either hurt the state or violated the wishes of North Carolinians.

Despite the propaganda, North Carolina’s economy is humming along quite nicely. The state has welcomed dozens of new companies even since the privacy controversy erupted in the spring of 2016. In fact, other than PayPal, pretty much the only enterprises that have chosen to punish the state for exercising common sense are taxpayer-funded sports events, aging musicians, and leftist Hollywood types looking to make a political statement. Continue Reading

Need for Religious Freedom Not Going Away

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal

My piece on Georgia’s religious freedom legislation at the Columbia County News-Times:

Just as the Supreme Court thought it had resolved the abortion debate 44 years ago, so apparently Gov. Nathan Deal thought he had put to bed the religious-freedom issue with his veto of the Free Exercise Protection Act (FEPA) on Easter Monday. But Georgians of faith – many of them Republicans – are reacting with righteous indignation to the governor’s surrender to the forces of intimidation.

And as the governor grows more defensive, he strays further and further from the truth.

Last weekend, nine of the 14 GOP district conventions passed resolutions supporting FEPA, also known as House Bill 757. These resolutions were direct and unsparing in their criticism of the governor’s veto, expressing “deep disappointment” with his abandonment of Georgians of faith and urging him “to uphold his constitutional duty to protect our First Amendment Free Exercise rights . . . .”

No district convention that was presented with such a resolution voted it down.

In fact, in District 12, when Rep. Barry Fleming, R-Harlem, took the floor to read the names of all state legislators from that district who voted for FEPA, he finished to a standing ovation.

The delegates of District 3 went further than this, passing a resolution actually “censuring” the governor for his veto.

There is no way Governor Deal could have missed the message.

[…]

Jane Robbins is an attorney and a senior fellow with the American Principles Project. Continue Reading

Georgia Deserves a Better ‘Deal’

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal

Why is Gov. Deal siding with corporate bullies over Georgians of faith?

Governor Nathan Deal drew national attention [last] week when he vetoed HB 757, a bill that would have protected Georgians’ free exercise of religion against infringement by state or local government.

Yielding to threats of economic harm from global corporations, the Hollywood Left, and LGBT activists, the governor demonstrated that he’s more concerned with the values and agenda of these outside groups than he is with those of Georgians of faith.

In short, he chose Mammon over God.

HB 757 is a reasonable bill that was carefully crafted to respond to concerns the governor had previously expressed.

It would have protected the right of faith-based groups, including churches and religious schools, to freely exercise their religion without fear of government persecution.

It would have provided critical protections for pastors, faith-based organizations, and individuals, preventing them from being forced to perform or participate in wedding ceremonies, or otherwise provide services, that violate their sincerely held religious convictions.

And since the governor had promised to sign a bill modeled on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) – a bill to provide protections on the state level that RFRA provides on the federal – HB 757 essentially adopted those provisions.

But the governor reneged. Weighing propaganda from the Left against pleas from the people in the pews, he found the propaganda more compelling. And in a nice touch, he issued the veto the day after Easter, the holiest day on the Christian calendar.

Continue Reading

A Tale of Two Governors

From left: North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (photos via Flickr: Hal Goodtree/Public Information Office)

Here’s tale of two governors. One is a tale of courage. The other is a tale of cowardice.

Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina recently signed legislation that overturned a Charlotte city ordinance that allowed men who claimed to be women to use women’s restrooms. The new law creates a uniform policy that protects privacy rights and upholds common sense in public facilities.

It is sad that we even have to debate this issue today. But this is what happens when a culture can’t even get something as simple as marriage right.

The ACLU is vowing to sue the governor, and Roy Cooper, North Carolina’s Democrat attorney general, is refusing to defend the new law. Senate President Phil Berger is demanding Cooper resign. If he doesn’t, I suggest Senator Berger launch impeachment proceedings.

Where did Cooper get the idea that public officials in this nation of laws can pick and choose which laws they want to defend? Perhaps he got it from the Obama Administration, which routinely ignores laws it doesn’t like.

Needless to say, the left has come down on North Carolina like a ton of bricks. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo banned all non-essential state travel to North Carolina. Talk about left-wing hypocrisy! Cuomo is eager to go to Cuba, but not North Carolina!

Thankfully, Governor McCrory isn’t backing down and is boldly defending the values and common sense of the people of North Carolina. Continue Reading

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)

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. Continue Reading

Ted Cruz Slams Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal’s Religious Liberty Veto

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Ted Cruz once again proved he has the courage to go up against the GOP establishment in the person of Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, who sided with leftists, big business and Hollywood by claiming conscience protections for gay marriage dissenters are “discrimination”:

“I thought that was very disappointing to see Gov. Deal of Georgia side with leftist activists and side against religious liberty,” Cruz said. “It used to be, political parties, we would argue about marginal tax rates and you could have disagreements about what the level of taxation should be. But on religious liberty, on protecting the rights of every American to practice, live according to our faith, live according to our conscience, we all came together. That ought to be a bipartisan commitment and I was disappointed not to see Gov. Deal not defend religious liberty.”

Now will any reporters ask John Kasich, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump the same question?

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and can be followed on Twitter @MaggieGallaghe. Continue Reading

Nathan Deal Shows True Colors in Vetoing Religious Liberty Bill

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal announced this morning that he will veto HB 757, the Free Exercise Protection Act, which was passed by strong majorities of both legislative chambers. Deal has thus shown where he stands when the heat is turned up — and it’s not with Georgians of faith.

The battle to protect religious liberty in Georgia has been waged over three legislative sessions. Throughout that time, Deal refused to lift a finger to help get a bill passed. If a mega-corporation or an LGBT pressure group threatened to punish the state for daring to enact free-exercise protections, Deal scurried into hiding.

Despite his tacit opposition, HB 757 passed this year. The bill — which a new poll shows is supported by two-thirds of Georgians — combines pastor-protection provisions with elements of a First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) and Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). (Twenty-one states have RFRAs, and 10 more have RFRA-type protections through judicial decision.) The FADA provisions are less extensive than those in the pending federal FADA and merely protect individuals and faith-based organizations from being coerced into violating their deeply held religious beliefs. For example, they prohibit the government from forcing someone to attend a religious service to which he or she objects.

Although this bill represented a compromise from the stronger bill that passed the Senate, the political and corporate Left went predictably berserk. Companies that rake in profits from countries that execute homosexuals announced that the line must be drawn at U.S. Continue Reading

Why Are International Corporations Threatening Georgia’s Freedom of Religion?

Photo credit: American Life League via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Last week, Georgia’s legislature passed House Bill 757, a bill that would protect the right of faith-based groups, including churches and religious schools, to freely exercise their religion without fear of government persecution. The bill now awaits the signature of Governor Nathan Deal.

Soundly rooted in the forgotten First Amendment, House Bill 757 provides critical religious freedom protections for pastors, faith-based organizations, and individuals, preventing them from being forced to perform or participate in wedding ceremonies, or otherwise provide services, that violate their sincerely held religious convictions. The bill also replicates — with respect to state and local governments — the protections that the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act provides against the federal government.

Of course, the idea of religious freedom has drawn the ire of both the political left and corporate America. Disney, Salesforce, and Apple have all publicly criticized the bill, and corporate mainstays like Delta and Coca-Cola, through the business coalition Georgia Prospers, have condemned the legislation and threatened punitive measures. Ironically, these same corporations have expressed no reservations about making money in countries that put homosexuals to death.

America rests on the bedrock understanding that individuals can flourish each day according to the dictates of their conscience. Because of this, the concepts of ‘religious freedom’ and ‘America’ have always been virtually synonymous.

That is no longer the case. Anti-religious bigots, emboldened by corporate America and the political left, are now waging all-out war on religious freedom. Continue Reading