A recent article discussed fear within the Christian community that Christians were losing the culture war and would soon be losing their rights as well. The writer interviewed Jim Phillips, the senior pastor of North Greenwood Baptist Church, to find out why events are moving against Christians with such speed.
“Sadly, Christians have often wimped out and grown silent instead of being bolder for the Gospel,” he said. “Christians get subdued into thinking they’re not supposed to rise up.”
It was easy to be reminded of that quote as we watched virtually the entire Republican field for Governor run for the hills in the debate over SB1062, the religious liberties bill that was advocated for by the Center for Arizona Policy and was supported by 50 out of 53 Republicans in the legislature. Conservative Republicans supported the bill, but so did moderate Republicans like Frank Pratt, TJ Shope, John McComish, Steve Pierce, Bob Robson and Adam Driggs.
Upon passage however, Democratic lawmakers and their allies in the homosexual lobby kicked their public relations machines into high gear and the media happily engaged in a feeding frenzy to declare SB1062 the next SB1070. And why not? SB1070 was great for ratings!
What most Republican voters probably didn’t expect was the speed with which one GOP contender after another bolted from the issue. What drove conservatives nuts were the pathetic excuses they gave:
Christine Jones doesn’t want to sign bills that make Arizona look bad. So instead of doing what is right she pledges to only do what is popular? Why not just elect the editorial board of the Arizona Republic?
Ken Bennett says Arizona already has all of the protections it needs. Except that Arizona has many of the same protections that exist in other states where Christian business owners are already being targeted.
Scott Smith claimed that his LDS background made him especially sensitive to religious discrimination. Of course the bill PROTECTS people’s religious liberties and Scott Smith’s personal pain aside, is there a religion in this world that hasn’t faced discrimination?
Frank Riggs said the Legislature has better things to do. Seriously? Even if you buy into the idea that religious liberties just aren’t that important, is he really only going to sign the bills he deems important and veto the rest? As a former member of Congress, you would think he would have a greater appreciation for the legislative branch being responsive to the wishes of the people and passing legislation that reflects their priorities.
Doug Ducey first claimed that he hadn’t read the bill and, after catching grief for that excuse, announced that he would veto the bill but, showing his incredible leadership, he would bring both sides together and work out a compromise. Cue the trumpets for Ducey the Great! Except what middle ground exists between the Center for Arizona Policy and the homosexual lobby? What compromise will Ducey work out so that it is okay to trample on the religious liberties of Arizonans just some times in some cases while allowing homosexuals to scream “discrimination” and “boycott Arizona’ only in other times and in other cases?
The only Republican candidate who supports SB1062 is State Senator Al Melvin who also voted for it. Melvin is standing very tall on the issue and, if he were in the top tier of candidates like a Ducey, Bennett or Smith, his position would likely garner him a real boost among conservative voters. He gets points for courage and conviction, but he has a real challenge translating that into a boost at the polls.
Color this conservative seriously disappointed. Every candidate running on the Republican side is running as a conservative. Every one of them will describe themselves as having the courage needed to make the tough choices. But none of them who opposed the bill had the fortitude needed to say “I oppose this bill because I think the bill is wrong.” They all recognized that the media and in many cases their donors wanted a “NO” and the Republican base wanted a “YES” and they all looked like typical politicians trying to have it both ways while thinking we were too dumb to notice.
Pastor Phillips might as well have been talking about the Republican field for Governor.