Outrage over Mississippi Religious Freedom Law that Mimics Existing Federal Version

We need a Freedom of Association Restoration ActCredit: Ken Lund / photo on flickrThe Mississippi legislature (both houses) yesterday passed the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law that would allow citizens to fight back against state and local regulations that place a burden on the right to freely practice one’s religion.

The legislation has already been compared to Arizona’s recent proposal that was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer. Though the Arizona law never mentioned sexual orientation, it was clearly a response to anti-discrimination suits in other states where businesses had refused to provide goods and services like wedding cakes and photography to same-sex couples because they had religious objections to gay marriage. Once again, Mississippi’s law is being cast as anti-gay legislation.

There is a significant difference here, though. The law that Mississippi is passing is not as broad as what was proposed in Arizona and almost perfectly mimics the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which provides the same guidelines for federal laws (and is currently part of the debate in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby over whether private businesses can be required to fund contraceptive coverage for employees). You can compare the Mississippi version here with the federal version here. Neither bill is that long or complicated. It states that the government has to prove that it has a compelling interest in creating any sort of burden on a person’s practice of religion and prove that this burden is the least restrictive means of forwarding that interest. It doesn’t guarantee that individuals or businesses can discriminate against anybody about whatever they can tie to religion.

The bill didn’t start off that way, so it should be noted that parts of the legislation that civil rights groups opposed to were stripped out to get it passed. Nevertheless, the American Civil Liberties Union opposes the bill, continuing its apparent disappointing position that there’s no such thing as freedom of association.

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  • Pro Libertate||

    No details yet, but there's breaking news about a shooter on the lose at Ft. Hood. It's very fuzzy, but it sounds like multiple people have been at least wounded.

  • R C Dean||

    I'm assuming that, naturally, the insane "no guns on a military base" policy that ran up the body count last time is still in effect.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Seriously, that needs to go away. I had assumed they'd have loosened those restrictions after the last mass shooting, but it sounds like maybe not.

  • Dweebston||

    But they have a law! They just need to enforce it! Maybe more funding will help. Let's put on an anti-gun rally to counter this teathuglican-inspired sociopathy.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    One of Bill Clinton's first acts in when he took office:
    http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fu.....272176.pdf

  • Pro Libertate||

    Where would we be without these noble people leading the way?

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    I dunno, armed and polite?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Bush is just as responsible for not overturning that, of course.

    That is what you say about Obama.

    OBAMA IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SURVEILLANCE STATE BUSH CREATED! BECAUSE ITS STILL HERE!

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Are you confusing me with someone else? Don't think I've ever made that argument.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Don't try and make sense out of anything it says. It suffers from severe Bush Derangement Syndrome. Like seriously, it needs help.

  • Coeus||

    I'm assuming that, naturally, the insane "no guns on a military base" policy that ran up the body count last time is still in effect.

    It is,

    But Colbert Report seems unaware.

    You stay classy, guys.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    I'm sure he'll get away with it because he's making fun of the right people. Tweet a vaguely sounding Asian name, however...

  • Knutsack||

    More "workplace violence", I'm sure.

    I guess I better wait and see.

  • Coeus||

    Current report is one shooter, dead, 8 injured, 4 critically.

  • Coeus||

    Looks like he offed himself. All preliminary info, of course.

  • Almanian!||

    the government has to prove that it has a compelling interest

    Ohhhh NOEZ!! That hurdle is SO high! How could the government ever HOPE to prevail in any case where it had to prove a "compelling interest"? This new law is so airtight, you could use it to season your pipe bag!

    /drive a Mack truck through that loophole

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, I'm afraid "compelling government interest" means "government wants to do something" these days. Very fuzzy standard.

  • Almanian!||

    I certainly felt compelled the last time the government had an interest in forcing me to do something...soooo....

  • ||

    If the Obama admin has made an argument before the supreme court that did not boil down to " we should be allowed to do this because that will make it easier for us to do it" I am unaware of it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    To be sure, what the administration argues is even weaker than what the court justifies. At least the courts occasionally rule against the government.

  • Almanian!||

    For you non-bagpipers, here's the reference -Airtight Pipe Bag Seasoning

  • ||

    So...a shooter at Fort Hood. One they knew was coming.

    Hey, NSA, tell us again how eavesdropping on every phone call in america, how creating a secret court and secret laws, how taking a giant shit on the constitution by creating an Orwellian surveillance state is absolutely necessary in order to keep us safe from terror attacks.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Is it the same guy, then? Do they know?

  • Calidissident||

    Isn't Hasan in prison?

  • Calidissident||

    Oh never mind, I see what he and you were talking about. Hadn't heard about that.

  • Pro Libertate||

    No, no, the FBI said they were looking for some new guy who wanted to do some terrorism at Ft. Hood. It was in the news yesterday.

  • ||

    We don't know anything beyond the shooting is underway now and sometime last week I heard they were looking for a 'recruit' who was planning a shooting at Fort Hood.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Looks like at least one person confirmed dead, others wounded.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    I'm listening to the Ft Hood area police and fire scanner channel right now. Over 10,000 listeners currently.

    It's a clusterfuck.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    Now it's getting interesting. They are trying to ping a cell phone, and the phone company is giving them shit.

  • freebooter||

    According to this the individual who made the threats is in a "mental health facility".

    As of now:

    It was not immediately clear if there was one shooter or multiple suspects, and there was no immediate information on the extent of any injuries.

    Who knows what it will be when it's all over.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    "But weeks earlier, even as Booker was being recruited by the Army and preparing to report, a check of his activity on various social media sites might have revealed he was not fit to serve."

    Nice job, recruiter.

  • ||

    Who knows? I do. It will be workplace violence.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Are terrorists a protected class for discrimination claims?

  • R C Dean||

    Muslim terrorists, sure. Because of RFRA, donchaknow.

  • freebooter||

    Probably. Although a source within Homeland Security is already denying that there is any connection to terrorism. That source then stresses that such a finding is based on 'preliminary' information.

    It just fascinates me how much flux there is in the coverage of these events from start to finish: the number of shooters, the number injured or killed, and the more minor details.

    It would be interesting to see a time-line of reported events from a single news site with all the divergences in the 'facts' laid out.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    The "multiple shooter" theories are so the cops get to play G.I. Joe for a few more hours and point guns at innocent people who are already traumatized.

  • ||

    As soon as I posted I noticed that to the left of the post is Hillary's face in a Tea Party ad.

    I see Hillary's face in a ad next to my post. Makes me think of her bumblefucked handling of the security she was responsible for.

    Hang 'em all.

  • ||

    Harry Reid is slowly getting (more) insane:

    “The Supreme Court today just accentuated what they did on Citizens United, which is a decision that is one of the worst decisions in the history of that court,” Reid said during a press conference on raising the minimum wage. “All it does is take away people’s rights because, as you know, the Koch brothers are trying to buy America.
  • Pro Libertate||

    You know, I know the Kochs are the bogeyman du jour, but America costs a lot more than what they have.

  • Mickey Rat||

    I don't think his progress is at all "slow".

  • ||

    I heard Mark Levin say a while back that whatever impression we have of all these politicians, it is probably wrong. Having met and worked with many of them he claims they are far more craven, slimy, low class, and evil than we imagine. People we would not task with picking up dog shit from our yard.

    I believe him.

  • SusanM||

    While Democrats publicly criticized the decision, they were far more positive in private. One top Hill Democrat suggested Democrats had a larger number of donors, and they can now go back and ask these supporters for even more money.

    There's always a silver lining, isn't there?

  • Knutsack||

    So they're going to buy up all of our debt?

  • Rich||

    Neither bill is that long or complicated. It states that the government has to prove that it has a compelling interest in creating any sort of burden on a person’s practice of religion and prove that this burden is the least restrictive means of forwarding that interest.

    Neither the Second nor Fourth Amendment is that long or complicated ….

  • R C Dean||

    the American Civil Liberties Union opposes the bill, continuing its apparent disappointing position that there’s no such thing as freedom of association.

    Or, apparently, free exercise of religion. At least, not any more, since the ACLU supported the identical federal legislation. Go to the very bottom, footnote 2:

    The Congress agreed overwhelmingly with the ACLU's position (that was rejected by Justices Scalia, Rehnquist, White, Stevens and Kennedy), and adopted the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 unanimously in the House and by a vote of 97-3 in the Senate.

    [Link rejected. Google "ACLU RFRA", and it should be the first link]

    And people wonder why I don't support the ACLU.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I don't want the government involved in either the establishment of religion or in interfering with the free exercise of religion, both of which are equally prevented in the Constitution. Only that seems to have been largely forgotten in many respects when it comes to the free exercise part.

    I find that extra troubling, because you could easily place the entire right under the rights of association and free speech.

  • ||

    It's really a demonstration of how far the liberal position on religious civil rights has evolved since 1993.

    Freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, is essentially no longer considered a civil right. Instead, non-discrimination is considered paramount.

    According to 2014 US liberals, you have a civil right to have someone bake you a cake and give you birth control. You don't have a civil right to refuse to do either of those things for a religious reason.

  • Tony||

    So we're gonna sit here and pretend it's not actually anti-gay legislation, aren't we?

  • R C Dean||

    We all know its really anti-abortion legislation, Tony.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'm trying to decide between two The Incredibles quotes here: (1) "This is not about you, Bob!" or (2) "You're not affliated with me!"

  • Pro Libertate||

    In case it's not clear, since a "Bob" can come out of "Robert," these remarks would not be addressed to you, counsel.

  • R C Dean||

    since a "Bob" can come out of "Robert,"

    Only if Robert isn't a male, anyway.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    So we're gonna sit here and pretend it's not actually anti-gay legislation, aren't we?


    I'm going to sit down and pretend you have a brain...

    Hmm, hmm, hmm...

    Hmm, I'm bored already. I can't pretend anymore.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Of course it is principals over principles with you, as you proudly don't have the latter.

  • Tony||

    I get the impression you morons think you're being clever.

  • ||

    You stupid fuckwit. Let them pass it and we will see how long before some church they disapprove of uses it against them.

    Go back and read the article. The bill is nearly identical to the federal law already in force. It is pointless pandering to a conservative voting b ace. It means nothing.

  • John||

    The most the law can do is affirm the 1st Amendment.

  • Tony||

    Libertarians for pointless laws!!1

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    By the way, I find the fact that you're not present to defend the state in cases like this very curious.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Actually, we're gonna sit here and pretend that it's pro-Lizard People legislation.

    Hey, if everything can be about gays with you, then I can shoehorn the Lizard Conspiracy into this somehow.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The law would protect worship and reverence toward the Annunaki.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Damn right.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Tony, since the federal RFRA is being talked about quite a bit in a highly controversial SCOTUS case could it be that was the impetus for passing an analogous state version of the law?

  • ||

    Is the 1993 RFRA anti-gay?

  • widget||

    http://openstates.org/ms/bills.....D00055572/

    Well, it is short enough to read and easy enough to understand by a layman like myself.

    But what is the definition of 'religion' in this context?

    The US is country of rational laws where any wild-eyed mystic can claim to be exempt from them under the banner of religion?

  • R C Dean||

    The US is country of rational laws

    No.

    where any wild-eyed mystic can claim to be exempt from them under the banner of religion?

    Aaaand, no.

  • widget||

    The US is country of semi-rational laws where some politically well-connected groups can evade them under the banner of religion.

  • John||

    No it is a country that has a constitution that specially protects religion. Yes religion is special you fucking half wit.

  • R C Dean||

    some politically well-connected groups

    Examples, pls?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    If he cites some Christian SoCon group, you get one drink.

    If he cites THE ZIO-JOOOZZZ!!!, you get two drinks.

    If he cites Barack Hussein Obama's Muslim-Marxist terrorist conspiracy to Islamize our body fluids, you get three drinks.

    If he cites the Peyote Church, you get to drink the whole damn bottle.

  • OldMexican||

    Once again, Mississippi's law is being cast as anti-gay legislation.


    Well, it's being cast that way by those that think they have a right to other people's production. Or labor.

    Slavers, to be more succinct.

  • OldMexican||

    Nevertheless, the American Civil Liberties Union opposes the bill, continuing its apparent disappointing position that there's no such thing as freedom of association.


    Being served by someone who is unwilling to serve you is the ultimate manifestation of civil rights, according to the ACLU. I guess the 13th Amendment was merely a suggestion...

  • SusanM||

    I swear I'm not looking to give you a hard time on this but exactly how far does association extend? If I'm a manager at a company which has a non-discrimination policy with regards to customers, can I write-up or fire an employee who is unwilling to serve a black guy? I suppose you might say he can assert his right by leaving the company but if he won't or can't then how is that situation justly resolved?

  • paranoid android||

    The basic principle is that it should extend to all consensual interactions between adults. Governments should not punish people for who they choose to associate or not associate with, whether it be for business or leisure, but that says nothing about private punishments (i.e. firing your racist employee, not going to your neighbor's barbecue because he's an anti-gay bigot, etc.).

  • R C Dean||

    Or, firing your employee because he's not a racist, or not going to your neighbor's barbecue because he's a gay activist.

    Two Iron Laws come to mind:

    You aren't free unless you are free to be wrong.

    Me today, you tomorrow.

  • SusanM||

    Okay, I see where you all are coming from.

  • FreeToFear||

    Much like free speech, there can be privately executed consequences to exercise of your freedom of association. I am under no obligation to continue to employ someone for exercising their free speech by cussing out a customer. Likewise I am under no obligation to keep the jerk in your above scenario employed. The government cannot (Well they say they can, but hey) compel an individual to interact with another (though its officers are under the constraints of equal protection).

  • Sudden||

    Wow, another active shooter situation at Fort Hood going on right now. Another Islamist, or is MSNBC gonna try to tie this into the Tea Party rhetoric over Obamacare's heroic triumps?

  • John||

    You know they are drooling all over themselves at the thought the shooter might be a white male who once attended a Ron Paul rally.

  • widget||

    “Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse,” Casey said.

    http://blogs.reuters.com/tales.....fort-hood/

    The generals are in the chapel, on their knees, praying that some southern white guy did it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What the fuck is wrong with our culture? We're such a mess. First that we have people who want to go shoot up a bunch of other people, second, because we have such a fucked-up view of reality that we worry about the race and politics of crazy people.

  • John||

    It is full of self loathing leftist who want to destroy it.

  • Calidissident||

    Leftists aren't the only ones who commit mass shootings (most aren't even political), and they aren't the only ones who care about the race and politics of crazy people.

  • John||

    No they are just the ones who won't stand up when the shooter is from a protected group.

  • Sudden||

    They're too pussy to stand up to any shooter.

  • Calidissident||

    Ok, but regardless of whether that is or is not true, it's certainly not the only reason we have mass shootings, nor does it make them the only group that cares about the race and politics of the shooter.

  • widget||

    I'll change my handle to "Cassandra" and agree with you.

  • widget||

    "hat the fuck is wrong with our culture?"

    Not having one.

    This is called 'Cultural Marxism'. The economic version of Marxism didn't pan out so well.

  • Dweebston||

    What the fuck is wrong with our culture this particular nexus of time, circumstance, and contemporaneous personalities?

    FTFH.

    To answer his question, it's purely the expedient offered by tragedies to fuel a particular political predilection. It's the amorphous anti-philosophy of tribal preference wedded to convenience.

  • widget||

    I think I kind of understood that.

    Your human DNA rules. Being tribal is part of being human. Unless you are an alien or a computer programmed by one you have no place to stand when criticizing tribalism.

    You are in the tribe.

  • ||

    I will say it again.

    Workplace violence.

  • R C Dean||

    Now that I think about it, those airplanes on 9/11 were also workplaces.

    ITS ALL WORKPLACE VIOLENCE!

  • Sudden||

    That said, if you were to walk into your place of work and beat the shit out of your boss because you found out he was banging your wife and just declined your request for a modest cost of living increase, but if it was discovered that you once attended a tea party event, you will likely be tried for treason and upon the court finding you guilty of crimes against humanity your family will be billed for the cost of the bullet used in your execution.

  • Scott S.||

    We have a post up on the shooting incident over in the 24/7 section. I'll be updating it.

  • Sudden||

    maybe linky linky in the main h&r feed...

  • Charles Hurst Author||

    Here would be a novel concept. The gay community could quit attempting to force the deviant lifestyle on everyone else.
    First of all it is an alternative sexual lifestyle. And to each their own. But stop attempting to tell me that we should honor the alternative lifestyle in marriage and allowing of adoption for same sex couples who are in the extreme minority. It is not the same as skin color or being born left handed.
    So if you want to engage in the alternative lifestyle then fine. No one says you can’t in this country. This isn’t Iran. But that’s not what you want. You want all of us to conform to your lifestyle. You want us to happily bake you a wedding cake. You want the churches to disregard their tenets. You want us to celebrate your deviance.
    Well guess what, we don’t have to agree with it. I really don’t want to look at it. Neither do other straight men, regardless of what they chant for social appeasement. Guess what happens when a society starts following every deviant path and disregards the family structure? My fiction will tell you. So does history. The society falls. So if that’s going to happen then it will as the states are too cowardly to state out loud what is common sense: that marriage is between a man and a woman. But don’t expect us to cheer you along.

    Charles Hurst. Author of THE SECOND FALL. An offbeat story of Armageddon. And creator of THE RUNNINGWOLF EZINE

  • ||

    "An offbeat story..."

    I bet it is.

  • Calidissident||

    Hetero vaginal intercourse in the missionary position solely for the purpose of procreation. Anything else is immoral vile deviant sinful evil and anti-family, and will result in the eventual destruction of the universe.

  • Sudden||

    Every time I ejaculate on a woman's face, I worry that it will result in a large hadron collidor black-hole creation event that will ultimately suck all living matter on planet earth into it before consuming the entire Milky Way.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Your fetishes are weird, dude.

  • Sudden||

    I have heard this a few times before, but it's usually muffled by the ball-gag.

  • ULOST||

    Can vaginal intercourse be anything but hetero, or has that been redefined too.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Well, it could be woman and horse or man and donkey sex.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, like I'm going to click on that.

  • seguin||

    It was Sarah Jessica Parker's sex tape.

  • AlmightyJB||

    HA!

  • Calidissident||

    I'm covering all my bases here ULOST. We wouldn't want anyone to get confused and engage in deviancy would we?

  • Coeus||

    I am morally ok with "slightly confused". Like, "Where does that go, and why is it purple?".

  • paranoid android||

    I'm sorry, Charles, but you're too late. The gay agenda has already infiltrated this place and turned every last one of us--think of it like those montages in zombie movies where the virus is spreading rapidly across the whole world, except with lots and lots of dicks. It even turned jesse ultra-super-DOUBLE-gay.

  • Sudden||

    He's going to Ireland today. He's gonna be like the Saint Patrick of TEH GHEYZ!!1!.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    As detailed in Knetter's magnum opus Zombie Bukkake.

  • SusanM||

    Any minute now the Freedom Fonzie will become the Freedom Firestien.

  • Coeus||

    It is not the same as skin color or being born left handed.

    Pretty much exactly the same as left-handed. (never thought of this analogy, thanks). Born with a proclivity that can and has been physically beaten out of them in various times and places (by beaten out, I mean beaten into hiding). Left handedness can range from almost total to almost ambidextrous. A spectrum, if you will.

  • Rhywun||

    When I was an exchange student in Germany, my family noted my left-handedness and told me that their lefties were "taught" to be right-handed. Good thing I didn't tell them I was gay, too.

  • widget||

    "So if you want to engage in the alternative lifestyle then fine. No one says you can’t in this country. This isn’t Iran. But that’s not what you want."

    The alternate sexual orientation lobby wants the 'oppressed' status so they get extra credits on rights, that is AA.

    AA, when it comes to blacks, at least makes a tad of sense, for a while. Black slaves had no ability to hold their unused earnings and pass them down to the next generation.

    'I come from a long line of gay men' makes no sense in this regard. My father was gay, his father was gay, and so was his father.

  • Coeus||

    'I come from a long line of gay men' makes no sense in this regard. My father was gay, his father was gay, and so was his father.

    Eh, it's possible.

  • widget||

    Yes, improbably, but not to affect on inheritance.

  • Coeus||

    Living two lives could get expensive.

    (just fucking with you here, I get your point)

  • ||

    Your website is garbage.

  • Rhywun||

    You want all of us to conform to your lifestyle.

    Nice collectivism you're practicing there.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Maybe I am crazy, but how about a law where the government cannot burden anyone in any way unless they could meet a compelling interest and show that the measure was a narrowly tailored to do that?

    Like I said in the morning thread, I am looking forward to when some religious polygamist challenges his state's criminal polygamy/bigamy laws under one of these state religious freedom restoration acts. Watching some of the SoCons who pushed such laws melt down like that robot on Star Trek would be entertaining.

  • widget||

    "Watching some of the SoCons who pushed such laws melt down like that robot on Star Trek would be entertaining."

    Liberals don't want you to marry your first cousin, for good reason. But it's OK if you marry another man. Think about that.

  • ||

    It would be great if we still had a system where the government could not simply order people to do things as a condition of existing.

    Sadly, John Roberts put an end to that.

  • Spoonman.||

    I hope that too, because anti-polygamy laws are ridiculous.

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