A diverse coalition of faith leaders gathered at the Capitol this morning to speak out against an executive order that President Donald Trump signed today. There are fears it could allow religious freedom to be used as an excuse for discrimination.
Religious freedom is one of our fundamental values—that’s why it’s protected by the First Amendment and by Georgia’s constitution. But as Georgia’s faith community made clear this morning, religious freedom does not give anyone the right to discriminate.
According to Reverend William E. Flippin of Atlanta, his faith teaches him to be welcoming and inclusive.
“My religion calls me to say, here today, that we cannot stand by and let discrimination call itself religious freedom. We are called to take action when lawmakers create unjust laws that make life harder for people. My religion teaches me that the sweeping religious exemption bills that we fought over the past years were about fear not freedom.” –William E. Flippin, Atlanta
Reverend Kim Sorrells, who preaches at Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Atlanta, underscored the point that freedom of religion is under no threat—that executive orders claiming to bolster religious freedom could very well be an underhanded way to sanction discrimination.
“As a pastor, I’m not concerned about losing my religious freedom, but as a transgender person, I am worried about being discriminated against. As a person of faith, discrimination is not a value that fits into my faith tradition, and I don’t want to see religion used as a means of harming people. LGBT people want nothing more than to simply go about our lives in the same way that everyone else does.” –Kim Sorrells, Atlanta
Discrimination in the name of religion is not only at odds with faith values of treating others as we would want to be treated—it’s at odds with what a majority of Georgians want from the law.
In February, a poll from the right-leaning Project Right Side Foundation found that nearly 75 percent of Georgians support updating state law to protect LGBT people from discrimination. The same poll found that a 57 percent-majority of Georgians did not think the state needed a law on the books similar to the executive order signed today, saying it would make the state seem unwelcoming.
We know that Georgia is a welcoming state—and today, people of faith made that case loud and clear.SHARE THIS STORY