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.
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.
Public Law 97-280
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.
Three days of prayer for our country, preaching, tours, and meeting with federal legislative leaders begins today at Independent Baptist Church in Clinton, MD. The annual event, known as “Capitol Connection,” is in its third year of uniting Church leadership with elected officials in Washington, DC to give a voice to independent Baptists while encouraging Church knowledge and involvement in legislative issues.
Awake America was founded by Dr. Chuck Harding with the goal to educate independent Baptists on national and international affairs from a Biblical Worldview, urge engagement with elected representatives, and encourage our representatives to take conservative stands and hold them accountable while interceding for our nation and leaders daily in prayer.
Pray for all involved including Bro. Dan Carr, Jr. and Bro. Caleb Carr who will be representing Faith Baptist Church at this year’s event.
Section 265 of the Mississippi State Constitution states, “No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.” Mississippi Public Broadcasting reports that, although the provision has been ruled unconstitutional and unenforceable, the atheist group Openly Secular, is demanding that the section be removed.
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The experts say Hobby Lobby had a good day in the Supreme Court yesterday:
Even if what the Cato Institute tweeted is true, the work has just begun as Dr. Chuck Harding points out:
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Dr. Chuck Harding and Awake America is sponsoring the second annual Capitol Connection, March 10-12, 2014 in Washington, DC. Last year’s inaugural event brought 480 Christian leaders to connect with their elected leaders.
At this year’s Capitol Connection learn about our country’s rich Christian heritage, meet your elected officials, and hear great preaching from Dr. David Gibbs, Jr., Dr. Paul Chappell, Pastor Don Strange, Pastor Rick Sowell and more!
- Monday: Evening Service, 7:00 PM
- Tuesday: Visit to Capitol Hill; Evening Service, 7:00 PM
- Wednesday: Christian Heritage Tour; Evening Service, 7:00 PM
For More Information:
The State Senate passed the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Senate Bill 2681) on January 31st.
The Clarion-Ledger reported that “The Mississippi Senate voted Friday to add “In God We Trust” to the state seal, as requested by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant.” Currently, the state seal only states “The Great Seal of the State of Mississippi” and is pictured to the left.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Phillip A. Gandy (R-43) who is also the Senior Pastor of Liberty Baptist Church of Waynesboro. The bill was passed unanimously (48-0, 4 absentees).
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