April 16, 2016

Mississippi Governor Signs Church Protection Act

Governor Phil BryantHere's a quick update on a previous post about the rapidly deteriorating situation in the state of Mississippi.

To nobody's surprise, Gov. Phil Bryant (R), already taking heat for legalizing anti-LGBT discrimination based on "sincerely held religious belief," signed HB 786 into law this week. As you may recall, this legislation clears the way for Christian churches throughout the state to designate members to carry concealed firearms in church, make it more difficult to prosecute any of them who actually kills someone, and makes it more difficult for the state to screen gun buyers for a history of violent crime. This last part (i.e., interfering with background checks) was opposed by the Mississippi Association of Police Chiefs, but that did not seem to matter to Gov. Bryant.

This is the bill that was selected as the "Worst State Bill" in the U.S. during the Secular Coalition for America's "Bad Bill Bracket" last month. I thought it was a solid choice then, and nothing has changed that.

The fact that this legislation passed during Confederate Heritage Month, shortly after HB 1523, and alongside a new anti-abortion law reveals just how low Mississippi has sunk. But rest assured, you ain't seen nothing yet! I have the feeling that the conservative Christian extremists who run Mississippi are just getting started.

It is often said that states are the laboratories of democracy. If that's true, I hope the rest of the nation learns something from what is happening in Mississippi.