Mississippi Joins The “Religious Liberty” Crowd

The Mississippi House and Senate have approved a bill that would allow businesses to discriminate for religious reasons.

The bill advanced by the state legislature is similar in nature to the bill passed by the Arizona legislature which Governor Jan Brewer eventually vetoed.

ThinkProgress explains:

“Religious liberty” bills like the one vetoed in Arizona differ from other states’ “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts” (RFRAs) because they extend religious protections to businesses. Mississippi’s bill has this same problem, because state law already defines a “person” to include “all public and private corporations.” Thus, if Bryant were to sign Mississippi’s bill into law, it would grant all businesses in the state a license to discriminate based on religious grounds.

Furthermore, the bill would allow businesses to discriminate for religious reasons even if laws are passed at the local level to bar discrimination.

To say that allowing businesses to invoke religious beliefs is a slippery slope is an understatement, and if Hobby Lobby wins their case currently before the Supreme Court we will likely see more “religious liberty” bills pop up.

While Governor Jan Brewer did veto the Arizona bill, it came to light that her office helped craft it. It remains to be seen if Governor Phil Bryant (R) will veto the Mississippi bill.

Mississippi does not currently have any protections for LGBT persons on the books.

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  • muselet

    Mississippi’s bill has this same problem, because state law already defines a “person” to include “all public and private corporations.” Thus, if Bryant were to sign Mississippi’s bill into law, it would grant all businesses in the state a license to discriminate based on religious grounds.

    If businesses can discriminate against any “person” on religious grounds, businesses will be able to discriminate against other corporations on religious grounds. Want to see what chaos looks like? Watch Mississippi if Phil Bryant signs this steaming heap into law (my two bucks says he will).

    I’d be laughing if it weren’t for the people who will inevitably get hurt by this nonsense.

    –alopecia

    • Toolymegapoopoo

      I think there are many smaller businesses that already discriminate against other businesses based on religious grounds. Perhaps it is just a rumor, but I’ve heard about a loose coalition of mostly Southern businesses that only deal with other Christian affiliated companies.

      • muselet

        Sure, and there are occasional attempts to create Christian Yellow Pages. That’s small potatoes, and the courts have consistently held that such directories violate the law and the constitution.

        What if the Christian Scientist owner of the only gas station in a small town refuses on religious grounds to sell fuel to ambulances or paramedic trucks (or Fords)? Or the Muslim owners of the only linen supply company in a county refuse to deal with a Catholic-owned restaurant (or, worse, hospital)? Or someone who owns a restaurant stops serving blacks? Or a hospital refuses to treat non-whites (or women or members of a different religion from the hospital’s owners)?

        If this measure is signed into law, there would be no such thing as a public accommodation in Mississippi, and while the likes of Rand Paul would stand up and cheer his little lungs out because Freedumb! (Rand Paul is an idiot), the consequences would be disastrous.

        (Not arguing with you, by the way, just elaborating on my earlier comment.)

        –alopecia

        • Robert Scalzi

          the rat fucker signed it

          • muselet

            Told’ja.

            As Mal Reynolds said, “It’s a real burden, being right so often.”

            –alopecia

        • Christopher Foxx

          What if the Christian Scientist owner …? Or the Muslim owners of …? Or someone who owns a restaurant …? Or a hospital …?

          “But some hypothetical future Congress could maybe pass a law someday that might perhaps in some way result in a company somewhere maybe having to pay for medical coverage that might, maybe cover an abortion. Perhaps. Possibly.” – Justice Kennedy

          • muselet

            To repeat myself: If businesses can discriminate against any “person” on religious grounds, businesses will be able to discriminate against other corporations on religious grounds.

            Unlike Anthony Kennedy’s nonexistent hypothetical slippery-slope ZOMG abortion! Congress of the indefinite future, there are lots and lots of people right now who want desperately to discriminate against someone who’s not just like them.

            This law is going to cause huge problems for Mississippi’s commerce.

            –alopecia

          • Christopher Foxx

            This law is going to cause huge problems for Mississippi’s commerce

            Couldn’t wish it on a more deserving bunch of folks.

  • Draxiar

    What validates a “religious ground”? If I just make some bullshit up like “It’s against my religion to not kick you in the balls because pain must be felt to feel God” does that constitute religious grounds? How does one qualify one thing and not another? And if it’s religious grounds they want to enforce then open the books to Sharia Law. Oh what’s that? That doesn’t count? Then the whole argument just fell the fuck apart.

  • D_C_Wilson

    Mississippi has no major league sports teams and no hope of ever hosting a Superbowl, so there goes that bit of pressure.

  • Zen Diesel

    I surely hope the Southern God Warriors move forward and pass the law of unforeseen consequences aka religious freedom. The funny thing about religious freedom is that it is a two way street. If religious freedom is good for business owners, then doesn’t that break down the barrier that prevent business owners from being sued personally by their employees or customers. What would stop individuals for suing them on the grounds of religious freedom.

    • Christopher Foxx

      It’s against my religion for my employer to require me to work for more than 45 minutes at a time. Also, my religion requires that I take 60 minute breaks to pray between each work session.

  • Robert Scalzi
  • Christopher Foxx


    “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts”

    At what point, exactly, did the religious freedom of any of the people in favor of this bill get destroyed so that it has to now be restored?

  • Christopher Foxx

    While Governor Jan Brewer did veto the Arizona bill, it came to light that her office helped craft it.

    Exactly. These people are cockroaches. They will try to do these things only as long as they can do so under cover. Shine a light on them and the scurry.

    It shows very clearly that they know what they are doing is wrong.

  • Badgerite

    The Supreme Court themselves have opened this door and please don’t tell me that the Gang of Four and sometimes Five do not realize that.