A very moving op-ed out today at Advocate.com from former NAACP chair, Southern Poverty Law Center founder and legendary Civil Rights leader Dr. Julian Bond, who has been speaking out against so-called “Religious Freedom” bills in Arkansas and Indiana for a few days now. This is a man who knows what it’s like to be discriminated against based on proclaimed religious belief. He didn’t stand for it in the 1960s, and he’s fighting hard against HB1228 now.
From Bond’s op-ed:
Legislative proposals like the one coming to Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and the bill Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law Thursday are driven not by belief but by fear of the unknown. As marriage equality edges closer and closer to becoming the law of the land, those who are dismayed by the broad sweep of progress are using so-called religious freedom bills as ballast. But doing so puts not only LGBT Americans and their families at risk — it puts all of us in an untenable position…
We oppose these bills because they seek not to preserve or protect religious believers but to demean and exclude LGBT people, religious minorities, and others who may find themselves standing on the outside looking in.
I have seen discrimination. I have stood inside businesses that would not serve me because of my race, and I have been told that the rights of those business owners were more important than mine. I countered that logic then, as I do now. We have no crisis of religious discrimination; we have a crisis of fear. I stand against these bills and with those who are fighting to stop them. I refuse to allow discrimination to cloak itself in a shroud of faith. I refuse to give into fear.