Post submitted by Diane Martin, HRC Religion and Faith Assistant
Later today, the Mississippi House of Representatives could pass the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act." While the amended version of this bill is vastly improved from its original form, setting it apart from more expansive bills in states like Arizona, lawmakers have made real their stated desire that the bill not undercut the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Now, over 300 Christian leaders have released a statement denouncing the bill and challenging their fellow Christians to not let faith become a tool of hate.
The signers are led by and include a number of prominent African-American clergy including Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III and Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, as well as some of the most high-profile national evangelical and mainline protestant leaders in the country. The full list of signers and the full text of the statement can be found here.
Their statement reads in part:
“These misguided efforts eerily echo Jim Crow laws that robbed African Americans of their basic human dignity. Businesses once barred not only blacks, but also Jews and Asians from buying homes in certain neighborhoods or eating in restaurants even after Supreme Court rulings overturned segregation laws.
We must not allow faith to be used in the service of discrimination.”
Signers of the statement join a rapidly growing list of opponents including Republicans from states across the country as well as religious leaders and laity who are reclaiming their faith and speaking out against the bill.
This bill is likely to move to the floor today and debate is expected to begin at any moment. HRC has called on the Mississippi legislature to further amend the proposed "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" in order to ensure that the bill not undercut the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.