Forty Days and Forty Nights

The Georgia Legislature is back in session. An attractive feature of our system is that it can only convene for 40 days a year. They can run 24 hours a day if they want, or they can convene for one hour in the afternoon, but they can only convene on forty days a year. The rest of the time, they have to leave us alone.

This is the second of a two-year session, so bills that didn't make it during the last 40 days can be brought up again this year. Of these, the most important is Georgia's Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Its importance can be seen in the fact that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution insists on referring to "religious liberty" in scare quotes, not just in editorials but in its news stories as well.

The bill is of course opposed by all right-thinking people, including the Republican Governor, the Republican speaker of the house, major Georgia corporations such as Coca-Cola, the newspaper, the entire Democratic party as far as I can tell, and a large swathe of the Republican party that is aligned with Atlanta instead of the rest of the state. It is just for that reason it is needed: the current environment is hostile to traditional religious liberty exercises by a large plurality, perhaps even a majority, of Georgia's citizens. They're unfashionable Christians it's true, including many evangelicals. Their expressions of these liberties are often though ugly by those right-thinking folks. Still, their rights are their rights, and the courts are plainly in need of instruction on how important those rights happen to be. The fact that there's such a unity of opinion among the powerful that is dismissive of their traditional rights is a very good reason to toughen legal protections for those rights.

The rest of the big-ticket items are shockingly libertine for Georgia: medical marijuana, alcohol brewery liberalization, legalizing casinos, clarifying online gambling laws to make it easier to engage in Fantasy Football, and of course efforts to increase social spending on transportation and public health care.

It's not the state I grew up in, to be sure. No gun control bills on the horizon so far, although that's sure to change.


Texan99 said...

At least they don't call it "religious" "liberty."--But aren't you concerned about the specter of "1 billion negative Twitter impressions" by people who fear anti-gay discrimination? (As if any business that openly barred gays from its doors would stay in business long. Why does everyone insist on equating this with declining to participate in a wedding?)

Ymar Sakar said...

A government that can take your religious whatever, can now take it away, there is precedent.

Those that look to gov for a solution... are already lost.

Ymar Sakar said...

Under protection, of course, that's the first step when they take over the religions.

Grim said...

I'm rather pleased by the idea that Twitter might cause the Twitterverse to stay away from Georgia somewhat, Tex. I'm not sure our politics have benefited from the transition to a style of rhetorical thinking limited to 140 characters.

Ymar Sakar said...

It is consistent with what many people wanted. They wanted content, but they wanted to make it short (without doing the work required).