Republican Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi signed the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act on April 5, which allows groups, people and businesses to deny services to LGBT people based on religious beliefs. The new law has supporters and detractors (video below).
Tony Perkins, head of the Christian-based Family Research Council, said in a press release, "This new law gives fresh momentum to efforts on the federal and state level to stop government discrimination against people who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman."
However, Mitchell Moore, a Christian baker in Jackson, Mississippi, recently told NPR, "I am here to bake cakes and to sell those cakes. I'm not here to decide arbitrarily who deserves my cake and who doesn't. That's not what I do. That's not my job."
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Moore was asked by NPR why he specifically opposes the new law:
Leaving aside the stupidity of passing it because it decriminalizes discrimination - which, that really is kind of the biggest issue - but I can actually say I think the law of unintended consequences is going to come back to bite the people who signed this bill.
If it is my sincerely held religious belief that I shouldn't serve them, then I can do that. And I can hide behind that language. But that language is so vague it opens a Pandora's box. And you can't shut it again.
Moore was also asked about "deeply held religious beliefs," which now enables people in Mississippi to discriminate against the LGBT community.
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"I don't think that there is such a thing as a deeply held religious belief that you should not serve people," Moore replied. "There is no sincerely held religious belief to think that I am better than other people, to think that my sin is different than other people. And so I am a deeply Christian man, and those go counter to my belief system."
Moore went on to mention the problems that currently face the state:
We rank number one - our state government is the most dependent on federal money. We are the third most obese state. We rank at the bottom in unemployment, in education. We've got crumbling infrastructure. None of them are being tackled. Instead, we are passing, hey-let's-discriminate bills.
Moore also praised his state and its "amazing" people, but worried aloud:
If you aren't from here, if you don't know that, you're going to choose to not come here because of bills like this - because you see the state government as taking no action on hundreds of other priorities and taking action instead on trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist. It boggles my mind.