A GOP lawmaker in Mississippi says critics of a religious freedom bill either haven't read it – or out of frustration, they're just trying to scare people about its potential impact.
The state legislature worked out a compromise and both chambers passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act on Tuesday, making Mississippi the 19th state to pass such legislation. State Senator Phillip Gandy, who led the way in the Senate, responds to criticism that the bill would allow people of faith to discriminate against others, including homosexuals.
"There's one of two things [about people who say that]: One, either they haven't read the bill – or two, they're just trying to frighten people, and there's some people who do that really well," the Republican lawmaker tells OneNewsNow. "When they don't have a good argument, they attack – and certainly we've seen a lot of that."
Gandy, who also is senior pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Waynesboro, MS, explains that the bill simply gives Christians a shield so that if a local, county, or state law is passed that infringes on their religious views, "then they would have this law as their defense – and government would have to prove that there was a compelling state interest to unnecessarily burden a person's religious rights."
Gandy says Americans have cherished religious freedom for over 200 years, but there has been ample evidence in recent years of government and the courts eroding religious freedom.
The bill now heads to Governor Phil Bryant, who is expected to sign the bill.