UPDATE: The Mississippi Business Journal reports: “The Mississippi House of Representatives Civil Subcommittee late Wednesday voted to strike provisions of a so-called ‘religious freedom’ bill.”
The Mississippi state legislature may soon approve its own anti-gay “right-to-discriminate” bill, which already passed the State Senate as part of legislation that adds “In God We Trust” to the state seal.
The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty criticized a similar bill in Georgia that the group warned would turn religion into “an automatic trump card.”
The Mississippi ACLU said the bill may even go farther than the legislation passed in Arizona: “We are worried that this bill is broader than the Arizona bill. The bill would allow the government finding of discrimination by defining ‘burden’ to include withholding government benefits.”
The ACLU reports:
Senate Bill 2681, the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, does not restore or expand religious freedom. It is simply a license to discriminate.
-In its current form, this law could allow people to argue that their religious beliefs exempt them from complying with laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, color, and national origin.
-This law would give private individuals and businesses a free pass to discriminate. This will allow businesses to deny basic services under the guise of religious freedom.
-This law would not protect against government funding of discrimination. By defining “burden” to include withholding of government benefits, religious organizations and individuals may use the statute to challenge exclusion from governmental programs. This could result in government funding of not only religious ends and activities, but also discrimination.
-This bill would do nothing more than allow the use of religion to discriminate and burden hardworking businesses with the threat of frivolous lawsuits.