If you live in a state where something shitty is happening, you always have the reassurance that, hey, at least you don’t live in Mississippi.
When it comes to losing, Mississippi really goes all out.
According to MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, “Mississippi [is] where more than one in five people live in poverty, more than any other state in the country. The state where more people struggle to afford food than in any other. The state with the shortest life expectancy and the highest infant mortality rate. The state with the second-lowest high school graduation rate and the lowest math and reading scores.”
Wow. Congratulations. That is really terrible!
And maybe you thought that Mississippi, with all its crooked letters, couldn’t possibly get any more terrible. And, hey, since real people actually live there and it is part of the United States after all, no one really wants it to get worse, do they?
Enter Governor Phil Bryant (Republican, duh) who just signed into law the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which will enshrine the words “In God We Trust” on the state seal. Just like on money! Maybe the state’s poor can use the state seal to buy food now. Just kidding. Bryant wouldn’t have signed it if it helped the poors.
Besides making the state seal godlier, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act will also allow people to discriminate like a boss! See, the RFRA is a lot like that anti-gay measure that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed in February, meaning it will make it easier to discriminate against LGBT people in a state that already is pretty fast and loose with that sort of thing. For one thing, Mississippi has an anti-gay marriage amendment carved right into its constitution. Also, like so many other states, it’s perfectly legal to fire someone or refuse them accommodations just for being gay.
So why pass the RFRA then? Are religious folks really being trampled on in Mississippi? Uh, no. Especially not the Christian ones who dominate the state. “Religious freedom” has become a dog whistle for “anti-gay” in places that are totally freaked about the possibility of marriage equality becoming law. The goal is to protect someone’s “religious freedom” to call a same-sex couple dirty sinners and refuse to make a cake to celebrate their sodomy celebration.
Granted it’s already legal to say, “Gay? No way!” in Mississippi if you don’t want to bake cakes or take photos or officiate or do any other kind of wedding thing someone might want to hire you to do. Sexual orientation isn’t covered under the state’s discrimination laws. So the RFRA is really just another “fuck you” to LGBT people living in the state.
One person who is totally hard for this law is Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. On the FRC website he fawns over “leaders refused to be bullied by homosexual activists” and passed the bill.
According to MSNBC’s Harris-Perry, Perkins was “at [Gov. Bryant’s] side during the private bill signing.” Probably fellating him. I mean, the ceremony was private, after all, which means we are all free to make up whatever we want.
“I am proud to sign the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” Bryant said in a statement. Because I guess if you’re the Governor of Mississippi, you need to have something to be proud of. It’s just sad he can’t be proud of something a little more substantial like, say, life expectancy rates.