Georgia GOP rejects a ‘religious liberty’ litmus test for gov candidates

Supporters of the “religious liberty” measure at the Georgia statehouse. AJC file photo.

The Georgia GOP decided against imposing a litmus test on “religious liberty” legislation for the Republican candidates for governor, adopting a resolution Saturday that supported the controversial measure without including a pledge for gubernatorial contenders to back it.

The compromise came after bitter debate at the Georgia GOP’s state committee over a proposal that initially called for the candidates to pledge their support for a state version of the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act that would have put Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in a bind.

The activists instead overwhelmingly backed a resolution pushing candidates to “commit to advancing the cause of religious liberty” without prodding them to sign a pledge.

It came after a remarkable agreement over the language between Georgia GOP chair John Watson, a favorite of the party’s establishment wing who was elected to lead the fractious party in June, and Mike Crane, a former state senator who is about as anti-establishment as they come.

Read the whole story on MyAJC: Georgia GOP nixes ‘religious liberty’ litmus test

Here’s the full text of the resolution:

RESOLUTION URGING GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES’ TO SIGN THE SUPPORT RFRA LEGISLATION

WHEREAS, The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”; and

WHEREAS, Since the founding of our nation, religious liberty has always been recognized as a preeminent human right; and

WHEREAS, Our courts, legal system, and government bureaucracies are diminishing our free exercise rights as they increasingly show a willingness to subjugate religious liberty to leftist politically correct ideology; and

WHEREAS, The federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) restored religious rights being eroded by federal laws and policies, ensuring that the federal government cannot substantially burden religious liberty without a compelling state interest and with the least restrictive means; and

WHEREAS, Because the 1993 RFRA applies only to federal laws and policies and cannot protect religious freedom against many forms of State and local government action that infringe upon religious liberty, over 30 states, by either statute or judicial decree, have provided similar federal RFRA protections at the state level;

and

WHEREAS, The Republican National Committee, recognizing the continued threats from the radical left, urged in its 2015 Resolution Affirming Religious Freedom Restoration Acts for the remaining states to “enact laws that mirror the federal RFRA to protect citizens’ rights to lead all aspects of their lives according to their deeply held religious beliefs”; and

WHEREAS, The Georgia State COP Convention delegates overwhelmingly passed resolutions in 2015 and 2016 urging their elected officials to pass a state RFRA without any amendments that could weaken the bill, and also urged passage of other religious-liberty protections; and

WHEREAS, The Georgia Senate and Georgia House of Representatives passed House Bill 757,the Free Exercise Protection Act (FEPA) in an effort to restrict our courts, legal system, and government bureaucracies from diminishing our free-exercise rights, only to see it vetoed by the Governor’s pen; and

WHEREAS, Protecting religious liberty continues to be a primary concern of grassroots Republicans, and passing a state level RFRA that mirrors the federal RFRA is the best place to begin such efforts in Georgia,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED. That we urge that all Republican gubernatorial candidates support a state level RFRA that mirrors the federal RFRA and commit to advancing the cause of religious liberty during their possible tenure as Governor and promote this idea throughout their campaigns and service to the people of Georgia.”

Reader Comments 0

28 comments
Edwina McInnish
Edwina McInnish

YOU PEOPLE WANTING THAT PASSED HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU WOULD BE ASKING FOR IN THE FUTURE THAT IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER. THINK ABOUT IT..........THOSE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES HAVE A WAY OF BRINGING A LOT OF ANGST IN DREADFUL WAYS. THINK ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING IN OTHER PLACES.........

Cheri Hall-Read
Cheri Hall-Read

We should all respect the right of people to choose their own faith. As long as you are a law abiding citizen no one should have a problem.

Annie Cook
Annie Cook

Does it also apply to Muslims? Apparently when a terrorist attacks a Muslim church the current president doesn't comment on it.

Cheri Hall-Read
Cheri Hall-Read

Annie Cook Of course. We need to respect all religions, and there can be terrorists of all faiths, take Timothy McVeigh. Trump doesn't care about anyone but himself. He said he has never had to ask God for forgiveness!! He is not Christian, he is a black hole.

Cheri Hall-Read
Cheri Hall-Read

Terece Sutherlin Bush said we are not at war with Islam,we are at war with terrorits. Did you forget that?

Terece Sutherlin
Terece Sutherlin

Annie Cook why should he??????We just had 8 years of this Islamic BS crammed down our collective throats

Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson

While they may not have to sign such a pledge, you'd better believe that the GOP electorate will demand they state such a pledge. It's going to be a prerequisite for getting the GOP nomination. Any candidate who refuses to make such a pledge will be pummeled for it by their foes, who will be quick to seize upon this demagogic opening.

Sheron Hilliker Edge
Sheron Hilliker Edge

Had they all been signing it before? What do they mean by preserving religious liberty? In office or for us?

Sally Williams
Sally Williams

It's new to this election, if I understand it right, there are plans for an even more "religious freedom" bill that's going to come up in the next assembly that many in the GOP want to pass. Basically, they want assurances that the next governor won't veto a christian preference bill that lands on his desk.

Sheron Hilliker Edge
Sheron Hilliker Edge

So it's not been decided on already? The article says it was rejected? I'll have to read the story later because for some reason, my phone isn't clicking the link on for me to read. \U0001f621

Chee Hill
Chee Hill

not in Georgia where democrats run as republicans bc voters don't know any better

Sheron Hilliker Edge
Sheron Hilliker Edge

Are you a republican? If you are, you voted for McCain right along with the rest of us and at that time, you didn't know any better either. People can lie to us and unless we know them personally and have spent time we them, we don't really know.

Sheron Hilliker Edge
Sheron Hilliker Edge

And it happens to Dems too. They took Obama's claim of being a Christian, as true. I never did but it's because I never believe anything that a democrat says. But we have lots of republicans at this time, that are total traitors too.

Chee Hill
Chee Hill

The GOP establishment chose Sarah Palin, so hale no I didn't vote for McCain.

Sheron Hilliker Edge
Sheron Hilliker Edge

\U0001f602 I voted for McCain for who I thought McCain was. But OMG that Sarah is far easier to take by just reading what she has to say! I cannot take hearing her talk! It grinds my nerves hearing that shrilling voice! Too high strung for my liking. I can't take Hillary's voice either! And I'm a woman, but hearing those women talking on TV, runs me out of the room! And it's hard for me to watch and hear Ann Coulter too. Her voice and the constant stroking of her hair, causes me much suffering as well! \U0001f602

Chee Hill
Chee Hill

I would have voted for McCain if he hadn't agreed to Palin....anyone that dense and living that close to Russia is bound to be owned by Putin.

Sheron Hilliker Edge
Sheron Hilliker Edge

^^ I'm not in to y'all's Russia conspiracy theory. I see Iran as being our true and most dangerous arch enemy, you know, with us having to keep a close eye on them for decades now, because we knew that if they came up with a way to hit us they would do it and with great excitement! Being that they refer to us by their cute little nickname The Great Satan and such. And for every national get together, they like to chant death to America for fun. And they still vow to this day to destroy Israel and also America. They are dedicated to do this and aren't even trying to keep it a secret. They dedicate their life to complete this mission and we have always known this, and have always made them comply to allow us to come in from time to time and check in on what kind of shananigans they were up to. But for some reason, even though we are aware of this, nobody stopped Obama from giving them hundreds of billions of our dollars, and then a couple of months later, he was caught smuggling them hundreds of millions of dollars, in an unmarked plane, in the middle of the night, with all of the cash converted and hidden in pallets on the plane. Which is something a drug lord would do. And that second batch wasn't approved by congress and he didn't have to be pressured about this or explain where the money came from. But clearly money laundering had to be involved. Smuggling large sums of money like this to our true arch enemy and going through many steps to try to keep it a secret, is what I find extremely disturbing and should have been the biggest political scandal ever! And actually is. But Obama and his regime were allowed to commit all sorts of high crimes and treasons and nobody cared. Once in a while, if one of them was called upon to come answer some questions, they pleaded the 5th and went on their way. While Trump gets hammered with threats of impeachment and accused of treason and blah blah blah, when it's found out that anybody he knows has talked to a Russian before. Russia wasn't being called our arch enemy until Trump was elected and all prior presidents before him, had relations with Russians, with them having ambassadors here and us having ambassadors there. In Obama's last year in office, an ambassador here that was here on behalf of being a Russian ambassador, visited the White House over 30 times in that one year. Nobody cared because before Trump, nobody pretended that Russia was our biggest threat and having any relations and talking to them was never even considered as being forbidden. But I do recall that for my entire life, we were aware that it was forbidden to have relations or to do any business with Cuba. But Obama didn't have to stick to what we knew was forbidden and Cuba was also a known enemy like Iran, and Obama dealt when both and gave Cuba a big chunk of money too, but not nearly as much as he gave Iran. That we know of anyway. Because with him caught taking great measures to hide it from us that he was giving Iran hundreds of millions of our dollars, on top of what he had already given them, its highly likely that there was several times he gave our enemies huge amounts of money in this same secretive way, and wasn't caught those times. Getting caught didn't get him into any trouble whatsoever which is mind blowing and infuriating and is why the left have no credibility whatsoever, when they have the shameless audacity to act like Trump is doing wrong, and not having even a speck of proof. Since some Americans are now pretending that it's been Russia that has been known to be the ones that would hit us at any moment for all of these years, even though we felt comfortable enough with them to allow ambassadors of theirs to reside here and attend our government meetings and such, which Cubans and Iranians were not allowed to do, the Russia blah blah doesn't hold any water with me and doesn't have any credibility either. Based on what all has occurred during Obama's 8 year crime spree, and based on me having the common sense and the memory of who we really all knew very well was always seen as our arch enemies for life, and now the left pretend that those places are our friends, and seeing how only once Trump was in debates with Hillary, suddenly and out of the blue, the left started pretending that it was Russia who has always been our biggest threat and after he was elected, people only then for the first time ever, started claiming that this one and that one are owned by Vladimir Putin, which only makes you all look crazy. If we were a small little third world hell hole, without any power whatsoever, maybe claiming that political leaders of those places were owned by Putin would make sense. But in America, we already have massive power so Russia doesn't have anything extra to offer that we don't already have, so they wouldn't have any just cause to feel obligated to carry through any agenda of Vladimir Putin. \U0001f644

Chee Hill
Chee Hill

Waaaaay too much for an American to read. JK...seriously, I can't be swayed about my political beliefs on Russia. Putin's killed too many journalists at this point to try.

Sheron Hilliker Edge
Sheron Hilliker Edge

Iran kills slews of people on a daily basis! Not a random few over the years. They practice this daily. And the Castro's have killed high numbers of people that had any objection to them at all or were even rumored to have any objection to them at all. And also killed or placed their families in prison. Same deal with Iran. North Korea too. When was the last time a Russian came here to kill Americans? Or killed any Americans at all? Never. I am not saying that I have placed all of my trust in Vladimir Putin. Just pointing out that it's not him that has been our big threat. And he's not made any moves of aggression towards us yet. But if the left continues to cause him problems based on lies for political purposes only, this may change. It appears to me that the leaders in our government are picking for a war with Russia. Which would be catastrophic. Citizens that are on board with picking a fight with Russia, because they are mad about losing, are idiots. They believe that we could easily knock down the Russians. Yeah, Germany once thought that too, and how did that work out for them? \U0001f644 They aren't able to think things through and act on ignorant impulses. China is allied with Russia. A few smaller counties, like the Philippines for example, broke ties with us because they hated Obama, and aligned with Russia and China. If Russia felt threatened by us, he could easily grab Iran and North Korea for extra backup. We all should know this. Air strikes right here at home would be lovely, would it not? With them all joined together against us, they would destroy us. And our destruction would come based on lies because of a lost election. \U0001f644

Chee Hill
Chee Hill

All the more reason to have women in charge....less death.

Keo Blaise
Keo Blaise

They shouldnt. This crap creates a slippery slope. What these narrow sighted people dont get is that they are now wide open to the same descrimination they so desire to have legalized.

Nolan Teter
Nolan Teter

Nope, the First Amendment is all we need to preserve religious liberty.

BDCoole
BDCoole

The moderates smoothed this over. Don't bet that there won't be a litmus test for the rank and file who show up for the Saturday breakfasts. 

Capt Tom
Capt Tom

When are we going to learn? It's 2017, and the strategy of pandering to the bigoted rubes just isn't a winning play. hear that Crane? McKoon? Frosts?

BDCoole
BDCoole

@Capt Tom You can disagree with them, but don't use such a broad brush. Merriam-Webster: rube:1 : an awkward unsophisticated person : rustic. 2 : a naive or inexperienced person.


I'd bet you that many of them are more intelligent, experienced and educated than many of the progressives you know. That doesn't make them right or wrong, but it does show that those who we disagree with are not always rubes, or necessarily bigoted. Jesus told the woman at the well to go and sin no more. He didn't approve of her adulterous ways, but he didn't condemn her. Condemning those that you disagree with puts you in the same sort of thinking as the folks of Westboro Baptist Church.