U.S. District Court Judge Carlton W. Reeves blocked House Bill 1523 from going into effect following the state legislature’s passage during the 2016 Legislative Session. Under the bill, businesses would have been allowed to deny services based on sincerely held religious beliefs without facing reciprocity from the state. Individuals would still be able to bring suit against such businesses but the state would remain neutral.
Judge Reeves’ injunction asserts that the law violates the U.S. Constitution in two places:
- The First Amendment by “establish[ing] an official preference for certain religious beliefs over others,” and
- The Fourteenth Amendment by explicitly favoring “anti-LGBTG religious beliefs” and providing adherents to those beliefs a special right to discriminate that is not available to others.
Mississippi’s Attorney General Jim Hood believes the federal court ruling was clear and does not expect to appeal. No other officials’ comments were available.
This is not the first time Judge Reeves has ruled on religious freedom issues. In July 2015, he issued a court order to prevent Rankin County School District (RCSD) from including any religious activities at school sponsored events. After receiving a $7,500 fine after failing to satisfactorily comply with the court order, the RCSD prevented the Brandon High School Band from playing “How Great Thou Art” during a halftime show fearing that such an act would violate the court order and subject the district to additional fines.
Although born in Texas, Reeves grew up in Yazoo City and was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi by President Obama in 2010.
- Judge Carlton Reeves’ CSE vs. Barber Order
- Judge blocks controversial Mississippi law
- Judge Hands Sweeping, Stinging Defeat to Mississippi’s Anti-LGBTQ Law from Taking Effect
- Mississippi AG: Churchgoing public was duped on HB 1523
- MS News Now: “Brandon High School Band pulled from halftime performance”
Under House Bill 1523, State officials, private business owners,and others who provide services to the public couldn’t be punished for acting on deeply held religious beliefs. The bill specifically protects individuals and organizations for acting upon the following “religious beliefs or moral convictions:”
- Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.
- Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.
- Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.
The bill would prevent the state government from taking any legal action against any religious organization, state employees, or other persons for acting in a manner consistent with these beliefs.
- House Bill 1523: Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act
- Clarion-Ledger: Mississippi House bill supports union of man, woman
- Human Rights Campaign: Discriminatory “Religious Liberty Accomodations Act” Passes Mississippi House
- SFGate: Mississippi bill: OK to not help with same-sex marriage
Our nation was founded as a Christian nation upon the Holy Bible! While you wouldn’t expect to hear that come from Washington, DC today, as recently as 33 years ago the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 97-280 making 1983 the “Year of the Bible.”
In their joint resolution, Congress not only recognized the Holy Bible as the Word of God, they acknowledged the Bible’s unique contribution to the foundation of our country and the blessings that followed our history. Echoing the sentiments of the founding fathers, the law quotes President Jackson who stated that the Bible is “the rock on which our Republic rests,” acknowledges “the value of voluntarily applying the teaching of the Scriptures in the lives of individuals, families, and societies,” and calls upon the nation to “to study and apply the teachings of the Holy Scriptures.”
The entire text below is courtesy of the Government Publishing Office.
MS News Now filed the report “Brandon High School Band pulled from halftime performance” on Aug. 21, 2015:
BRANDON, MS (Mississippi News Now) – The Brandon High School Band did not perform at halftime during the season-opening game Friday night. A statement from the Rankin County School District says a July federal court order is the reason the band was banned from Friday night’s halftime show.
The band had been slated to perform the hymn “How Great Thou Art.”
The district made the decision to ban the halftime show after learning the hymn was included in the performance.
Capitol Connection held its annual meeting March 23-25 and released the following video teaser of the event.
A complete video report will be published soon. Capitol Connection 2016 will be March 14-16. For more information, visit Awake America.
A U.S. Navy chaplain has been reassigned from his duties at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Charleston, SC while he awaits action that could remove him from the military. His offense? Lt. Cmdr. Wes Modder expressed his Biblically held beliefs on homosexuality and pre-marital sex.
Michael Berry, Modder’s attorney, stated, “Chaplain Modder does not dispute that during private, one-on-one pastoral care and counseling sessions, he expressed his sincerely held religious belief that: sexual acts outside of marriage are contrary to Biblical teaching; and homosexual behavior is contrary to Biblical teaching; and homosexual orientation or temptation, as distinct from conduct, is not sin,” Berry said.
Modder stated, “[The military] want[s] a chaplain to accommodate policy that contradicts Scripture.”
The 19-year veteran also said, “Many Americans may be shocked to discover how much military culture has changed over the past few years. . . This new generation is very secular and very open sexually. The values that the military once held – just like the Boy Scouts of America – are changing. The culture wants this. Culture is colliding with truth. That’s at the heart of this.”