The governor of Mississippi is vigorously defending his state for passing a law that protects Christian business owners who believe in the biblical definitions of marriage and sexuality.
Governor Phil Bryant was presented with the first "Samuel Adams Religious Freedom Award" by the Family Research Council last week. In a defiant speech, the governor was quick to credit the legislature and the state's legal team for passing and defending the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act (HB 1523). But he also admitted he'd been taking his share of heat from anti-religious freedom activists.
"You see about 60 days ago, it seemed as if all of the secular, progressive world had decided that they were going to pour their anger and their frustration – their friends in the media willingly joining with them – to bring all that they could upon the governor of the state," said Bryant.
His message to them: bring it on. "Do they believe that we will just simply walk away from those freedoms that our forefathers died for? .... Do they think we will simply abandon that? They don't know us very well, do they?"
The governor continued: "How dare them, how dare them ... to believe that somehow this radical idea the left now has about our religious freedoms – that somehow they should be taken away from us – is equal to those who fought in the dark days of the segregation movement."
And he stressed that it's a battle worth fighting.
"We are not afraid. We will not be intimidated," he vowed. "We will not go quietly into the night, because the fate of a nation rests with the actions of men and women who stand on those walls."
He noted there may not be many more opportunities to turn back the tide that threatens to drown the church. "So if we are going to stand, now is the time and this is the place," he urged.
Listen to Gov. Bryant's speech in its entirety
Photo credit: Light Productions Photography / Ron Walters