It is nice to find a Republican who, at least on one issue, acknowledges reality.
The GOP governor of the state of Georgia, Nathan Deal, has strongly denounced a proposed “religious freedom” bill that would exempt religious bigots from prosecution if they discriminate against people with different sexual orientation.
What really impressed me, however, is that Deal didn’t oppose the bill just because it could trigger a boycott of the state (as similar bills have done in other states) and hurt their economy. He opposed it on religious grounds. Deal argued that Jesus preached love and acceptance of society’s outcasts, particularly those scorned by religious institutions:
What the New Testament teaches us is that Jesus reached out to those who were considered the outcasts, the ones that did not conform to the religious societies’ view of the world … We do not have a belief in my way of looking at religion that says we have to discriminate against anybody. If you were to apply those standards to the teaching of Jesus, I don’t think they fit.
What that says is we have a belief in forgiveness and that we do not have to discriminate unduly against anyone on the basis of our own religious beliefs. We are not jeopardized, in my opinion, by those who believe differently from us. We are not, in my opinion, put in jeopardy by virtue of those who might hold different beliefs or who may not even agree with what our Supreme Court said the law of the land is on the issue of same-sex marriage. I do not feel threatened by the fact that people who might choose same-sex marriages pursue that route.
The religious right should realize that they should not feel threatened by same-sex marriage. Or to put it more bluntly, if they are threatened by it, then they don’t have much of a religion. They make a huge mistake when they try to legislate their religious beliefs against gays.
Deal has some good advice for social conservatives with a persecution complex:
I hope that we can all just take a deep breath, recognize that the world is changing around us, and recognize that it is important that we protect fundamental religious beliefs. But we don’t have to discriminate against other people in order to do that. And that’s the compromise that I’m looking for.