JACKSON, Miss. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Mississippi governor Phil Bryant is admonishing the "secular, progressive world" and their lapdog media for attempting to manipulate him into not signing a bill that would protect religious liberty.
Speaking last week to the conservative Family Research Council in Washington, Bryant recalled the struggle he faced two months prior in signing House Bill 1523, which allowed people and religious organizations the right to:
Not participate in gay weddings
Hire people according to their religious beliefs
Determine sex-specific rules regarding attire and restroom use
Bryant recounted how "the secular, progressive world" and "their friends in the media" had tried to stop him from signing the bill. He related,
Hoping, first, that surely he wouldn't sign that bill if we could just draw enough editorial cartoons ... if we could condemn him enough, if we could get enough cameras in his office, if we could get people to go out and protest in front of the governor's mansion at night. We could get people to call him bad names. How dare them. How dare them.
In April, the governor signed the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, known as the most comprehensive religious freedom bill in the United States. The law is anticipated to take effect July 1.
But two lawsuits are currently challenging the bill. On May 9, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit claiming the law would treat gay couples unfairly, and the following day, the Campaign for Southern Equality filed a lawsuit resurrecting a legal argument from 2014 which was successful in overturning Mississippi's ban on so-called same-sex marriage.
During last week's speech, Governor Bryant spoke of these trials, asking rhetorically if his critics believed people of faith would abandon "freedoms that our forefathers died for," including religious freedom.
The governor concluded his speech by declaring, "They don't know that Christians have been persecuted throughout the ages. They don't know that if it takes crucifixion, we will stand in line before abandoning our faith and our belief in our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ."