Louisiana's Bobby JIndal and Tony Perkins lead the religious liberty debate
Written by  // Wednesday, 15 April 2015 13:51 //

tony-perkinsReligious freedom.

The phrase is being heard around the world, every day, on talk radio, cable TV and soon, political ads throughout the nation

Two of the strongest advocates come from Louisiana.  One is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and the other, former Louisiana legislator, Tony Perkins, now heading the Family Research Council.  


Jindal, who is in his final term as governor and who is actively pursing the White House has been making the topic, issue number one.  Or, as he might say, one of the three most important issues of this legislative session that began Monday, along with the $1.6B budget deficit and his opposition to Common Core.

As Jindal has been prostelytizing, religious freedom is under attack like never before.

The governor made this point again on Monday when he addressed the legislature. 

His communications office punctuated his position by promoting his statements about religious freedom.  The governor is supportive of legislation filed in the Louisiana legislature that would protect those who have religious objections as to serving in the the nupitals industry to those who are not advocates of "traditional marraiges". 

Jindal has not only been supportive of this Louisiana legislation but was supportive of other laws that were under scrutiny in Indiana and Arkansas. After Jindal’s session speech, his office emailed these links to news articles covering the speech:

Baton Rouge Advocate: “Bobby Jindal, At Times Sentimental, Opens Session By Touting Spending Plan, Taking Stand On Common Core, ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill”

$1·         Baton Rouge Advocate: “On Common Core, A Program Of Which Jindal Has Become A Frequent Critic, Argued That High Standards Are Needed But Without Federal Interference. ‘I care deeply about high, rigorous standards ... They were embedded in me at an early age,’ Jindal said. ‘My father, who is here today, was not happy with straight As. If my brother or I got a 95 percent, he wanted to know what happened on the other 5 percent.’”

$1·         Gov. Jindal Said He Would Fight For Religious Liberty Legislation. “‘Let me be crystal clear -- I absolutely intend to fight for the passage of this legislation -- and any other that seeks to preserve our most fundamental freedoms,’ Jindal said his speech. ‘All this bill does is provide necessary protections for individuals to prevent adverse treatment from the state based on religious beliefs regarding marriage. This legislation does not allow a restaurant or industry to refuse service to a gay or lesbian person.’”

On Tuesday, his communications department followed up with this email defending his support of the legislation:



• HB 707 proposes to enact into law that the state shall not take any adverse action against a person, wholly or partially, on the basis that such person acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction about the traditional definition of marriage.
• What this means in practice is that the state will not be allowed to deny from a person or entity such things that they would otherwise be entitled to—such as a license, certification, accreditation, employment, state contracts, state benefits, or tax deductions—solely because of that person or entity’s views that marriage is a union between one man and one woman.
• This bill will attempt to stop potential cases of discrimination by the state against individuals on the basis of their view that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. 


• Passing HB 707 will NOT allow individuals or entities to do anything that is currently against the law (state or federal).
• The bill does NOT prevent the state from denying a license, certification, accreditation, employment, state contracts, state benefits, or tax deductions on the basis of someone or an entity breaking the law or doing something illegal.
• The bill will NOT change anything as it relates to the law in terms of discrimination suits between private parties.
• The bill does NOT provide a right for an individual or business owner to discriminate against gays or lesbians.


MYTH: This bill will legalize discrimination, allowing restaurants and other businesses to refuse service to LGBT individuals. It will allow doctors to deny treatment to same-sex couples, and contractors could refuse to work on a gay person’s home, etc.

FACT: This legislation DOES NOT allow a restaurant or industry to refuse service to a gay or lesbian person. The law merely ensures the state cannot deny a license, certification, accreditation, or contracts, to a person or a business on the basis of their sincerely held religious belief about traditional marriage. It does NOT provide a right for a business owner to discriminate against gays or lesbians.  The bill actually seeks to end discrimination by the STATE against an individual or entity based on their views regarding traditional marriage.

MYTH:  HB 707 dismantles the Louisiana legal system. According to the ACLU, it could allow husbands to hit their wives, if the men claimed they thought they had a right to do so.

FACT: House Bill 707 doesn’t change any law to allow people or businesses to do anything that is currently against the law, be it spousal abuse, or breaking and entering, or jaywalking, etc.  The bill that has been filed simply ensures the state cannot deny a license, certification, accreditation, contract, etc. to an individual or business on the basis of a sincerely held religious belief that marriage is a union between one man and one woman.

MYTH: This bill is the same as the one that was pushed in Indiana and Arkansas.

FACT: The recent arguments in Indiana and Arkansas were regarding Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (“RFRAs”).  HB 707 is not a RFRA law, so the controversy and concerns over the language and scope of the Indiana and Arkansas RFRAs are not relevant in Louisiana.  Louisiana passed its own version of RFRA years ago. The Indiana bill became controversial because that state passed a broad RFRA that allowed for it to be misinterpreted and caused controversy.  The debate in Indiana and Arkansas has no application to HB 707, which specifically and exclusively limits adverse treatment by the state of any person or entity that abides by a firmly held religious belief with regard to the issue of traditional marriage.

However, the author of the bill, a constitutional scholar, has recently stated that he does not support the bill as previously filed and is making changes.

Still, Jindal is on record backing the legislation regardless of the changes.

According to NOLA.com,

"The bill's author, Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Bossier City, proposed a series of amendments for his religious freedom bill this week, after it became obvious several Louisiana legislators weren't comfortable supporting the legislation. Gov. Bobby Jindal has made the bill a priority, and his office worked with Johnson to adjust the proposal, so it would be more amenable to members. 

The bill is designed to block the government from pulling licenses, tax benefits and the like from a company because of the owner's held view of marriage. But LGBT advocates and a few legal experts have said it would also allow businesses of any size to refuse to recognize married same-sex couples, should same-sex marriage become legal in Louisiana. "

One of those opposing the legislation as filed is the Republican Senate President, John Alario, who said in a Bayoubuzz interview that it reminded him of the discriminatory past.

On Sunday, in his weekly update, "The Friends of Bobby Jindal"  sent out this email focused almost solely upon his religious liberty brigade--demonstrating the governor's commitment to the issue and the recent national media exposure he has received in promoting it:

Jindal Weekly Update

This week, Governor Jindal appeared on NBC's "Meet The Press" where he stood up for religious liberty and made the case for laws to protect individual religious rights from government intervention.  Governor Jindal's appearance was described as "masterful" and one commentator declared him the "champion" of the week. 

Here Is A Quick Recap Of The News About The Governor's Week:

Governor Jindal Went On NBC's "Meet The Press" To Stand Up For The Right Of Religious Liberty. GovernorJindal: "Well, Chuck, I was very worried about the law in Indiana. I'm disappointed. Let's remember what this debate was originally all about.  This is about business owners that don't want to have to choose between their Christian faith, their sincerely held religious beliefs, and being able to operate their businesses. Now, what they don't want is the government to force them to participate in wedding ceremonies that contradict their beliefs. They simply want the right to say, 'We don't want to be forced to participate in those ceremonies.' I was disappointed that you could see Christians and their businesses face discrimination in Indiana. I hope thelegislators will fix that and rectify that. Chuck, there used to be a bipartisan consensus in this country around religious liberty saying that as Americans, we don't all have to agree with each other but we should respect each other's rights and freedoms. And that's what this debate is really about. Are we going to use government to force people to contradict their own sincerely held beliefs?"

$1·  Watch Video Of His Appearance Here:www.youtube.com 

Steve Deace Proclaimed Governor Jindal A "Champion" And The Winner Of The Week For Standing Up For Religious Liberty. "When a people's very way of life is at stake, they look for a champion who stands up while others flee and says, 'Here I am, send me.' This week, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was such a champion. … He articulated the very argument that will be necessary to preserve religious liberty against the now underway Secular Inquisition. ... Religious liberty is poised to become the issue in the 2016 GOP presidential primary. … Jindal decided to grab this issue by the throat and own it. For this reason Jindal is our winner of the week this week." 

Hot Air's Ed Morrissey: "Hopefully, Other Republicans Are Paying Attention Here … Jindal Did A Masterful Job of anticipating the exaggerated context of the media framing of RFRA and rebutting it at every turn. It's quite a lesson. Let's hope others are paying attention." 

Townhall's Guy Benson: Jindal Strikes Smart Tone on Religious Liberty. "Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal used his appearance on Meet the Press this week to frame the roiling, and often ignorant, religious liberties debate in a savvy and sensible manner."

Governor Jindal Addressed The NRA Convention By Calling On Conservatives To Stand Up To The Left In Defense Of The First And Second Amendments. In a speech to the National Rifle Association later today, the Louisiana governor is expected to link efforts to fight so-called religious freedom measures in Indiana and Arkansas with other, unrelated attempts to restrict gun ownership in the U.S. "If these large forces can conspire to crush the First Amendment, it won't be long before they come after the Second Amendment," Mr. Jindal is expected to tell a group of NRA members here in Nashville this afternoon, according to early excerpts of his remarks.

Gov. Jindal Spoke To A Family Leaders Summit In Iowa And Said We Need A President Who Puts Principles In Front Of Popularity. Jindal: "When (President Barack Obama) talks about the American dream, it's not an American dream that I recognize. He talks about redistribution. He talks about a larger, more intrusive, more expensive federal government. … Growing up in Baton Rouge, I heard about an America where the circumstances of your birth don't determine your outcome. ... My dad is one of nine children, literally born and raised in a home without electricity, without running water. He was the first and only one in the family to get past the fifth grade. ... I want a president whose not worried about what the New York Times says about him. I want a president who doesn't care if the popular culture in D.C., if the cocktail circuit doesn't like him. I want a president who doesn't care if the elites say, 'How unsophisticated is this guy.' He actually believes in the Second Amendment. He actually believes in religious liberty … '"

$1·  Governor Jindal Received The Most Enthusiastic Response Of The Night. "The biggest round of applause from an audience of about 600 at a gathering of Christian conservatives in Mount Pleasant on Thursday night was awarded to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. … Bobby Jindal - Crowd reaction: Standing ovation when he took the stage, then another big one at his close — the most enthusiastic response of the night."

Appearing At An Energy Event, Gov. Jindal Said The U.S. Needs To Harness The Energy Revolution That Can Transform Our Economy. "Jindal said overreach by the federal government interferes with improving American income. 'We're in the middle of an energy revolution that can transform our economy. They can bring good-paying jobs to our economy. I'm not just talking about exploration and production jobs. ... It's also manufacturing jobs and downstream jobs. …  It's also an opportunity to lower energy prices and put more dollars in the average family's pockets. Just the energy revolution alone over the next 10, 20 years could increase the median family income by 7 percent without more federal spending, borrowing or taxing.'"

Gov. Jindal Argued That The Republican Party Needs To Stick To Its Conservative Principles If It Wants To Win In 2016. "Jindal repeated an argument frequently made before conservative Iowa audiences, telling the home-school crowd that Republicans have erred by shying away from conservative principles and moderating their message. 'Our problem in losing previous elections wasn't that we were too conservative, it's that we weren't sincerely conservative,' he said. He would not bend on his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage and support for religious liberty, Jindal said. 'There are a lot of politicians evolving their views on marriage, looking at those polls and saying 'I'm changing this way or that way,' he said. 'I'm proud to tell you that I'm someone who's not evolving.' Responding to a question about his priorities if we were to run for president, Jindal said 'big changes' rather than incremental shifts in policy were necessary to push the country in a more conservative direction."

Louisiana's High School Graduation Rate Hit Another Record High. Louisiana's public high school graduation rate rose in 2014 to a record high of 74.6 percent, the state Department of Education announced Monday. The improvement was the fourth in a row and represents a rise of nearly 10 percentage points in less than a decade, officials said. … In a prepared statement, Jindal praised the four years of gains. "This is truly a testament to the hard work of our dedicated teachers, parents and students in Louisiana," he said. The state has won praise in recent years for improvements in graduation rates compared to the rest of the nation. The statewide graduation rate was 64.8 percent in 2006.

Governor Jindal Announced Support For Legislation To Make It Illegal To Share Explicit Images Without Permission. Gov. Bobby Jindal is joining the fight against so-called "revenge porn." The Governor's Office announced Monday that Jindal is backing state legislation this session that would make it a crime to share sexually explicit photos of someone without permission. "The number of individuals who have been victimized by this very personal form of abuse, often online, is inexcusable, and this nonconsensual distribution of private images must be stopped," Jindal said in a statement. "We look forward to working with legislators to ensure that this violation of personal privacy is not tolerated in Louisiana." Currently, it's against Louisiana law to take explicit photos or videos of someone without consent, but it's legal, under state law, to spread private images and video that have been illegally obtained or those that were intended to remain confidential. House Bill 489, as authored by state Rep. Julie Stokes, R-Kenner, would make it illegal to distribute — without permission and to cause emotional distress — explicit images of someone older than 17, even if that person originally agreed to be photographed.


As mentioned, Louisiana's other high-profile advocate leading the charge to protect “traditional marriage and religious freedom”, is Tony Perkins.  His daily emails have been strident defending the Indiana and Arkansas laws and denouncing the governors who backed away from them after the barrage of criticism. 

Today, he sent out this email:

Marriage is on trial.

On April 28, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for and against redefining marriage in America. Though marriage between a man and a woman has existed since the beginning and is the cornerstone of ordered society, the time-honored institution is in serious trouble. Before federal judges began to overturn marriage laws, voters in 30 states had preserved natural marriage in their Constitutions. Now the High Court is poised to decide for us all.

The consequences this decision could have on our religious freedom, the freedom to believe and live according to those beliefs, are staggering. Should the Court redefine marriage, our religious liberty -- the foundation for all of our freedoms -- is at risk. That's why we're asking churches across America to hold a special "Stand for Marriage Sunday: Religious Liberty at Risk" on Sunday April 26, to take time in their worship services to pray for the Supreme Court and the attorneys presenting the arguments, that truth would prevail and that natural marriage would be honored by the arguments and by the decision of the justices.

To help congregations set the stage, we've partnered with Echolight Studios to create a short video that explains the importance of this decision, and the impact it will have on everyday Americans who seek to live out their faith. We're making it available to congregations for free, so you can help by asking your church leaders to show the short video, then pray for the Court that marriage and religious liberty will be protected.

See video

Please ask your church to consider joining us in praying for marriage and our freedom to follow God, and to live according to our faith.

Ask your church leaders to host Stand for Marriage Sunday: Religious Freedom at Risk


Tony Perkins


P.S. Please forward this alert to friends, family and fellow church members, and post to your favorite social networks.

So far, the recent debate over religious freedom has been focused upon small business and marriage--which arguably is the Louisiana legislation focus.  

However, there are also voices that suggest the legislation being foisted upon the various states are not limited to that limited segment of the business community at all. 

One author, who penned today for The Daily Beast today,  Jay Michaelson, wrote that the bills are more than small biz and more than pizza and cakes and weddings:

Medical Care. Last fall, a physician refused to treat a child because her parents were two women. That’s the tip of the iceberg. Under religious exemptions present in most states, any religiously-affiliated hospital—20% of hospitals nationwide—could turn away gay people and their families, even in emergencies. Likewise, while RFRA’s backers focus on a lone pharmacist who doesn’t want to dispense contraceptive pills, Hobby Lobbymeans that entire pharmaceutical chains wouldn’t have to 

• Abuse. Already, RFRA has been used by a Catholic diocese to weasel out of paying a settlement for sexual abuse cases. (They lost, but other claims would win.) Spousal or child abusers could absolutely use RFRA to defend against criminal charges, if they can show that their “discipline” was sincerely motivated by a religious reason—which is easy to do, given the scriptural support for it. (For example, in the Alabama case of a child who was “run to death,” forced running in circles is a punishment often meted out by religious conservatives.) RFRA has even been used by a fundamentalist Mormon to evade child labor laws.

• Corporations. We are living in a post-Hobby Lobby world. We should not be worried about an individual florist. We should be worried about corporations like Hobby Lobby (annual revenue, $3.3 billion) which can not only “turn the gays away” from their stores but deny their employees (and their spouses) insurance benefits, fire women and LGBT people because of their gender or sexuality, and punish an employee’s ‘disobedience’ of any religious precept by dismissing them. In addition, because of Hobby Lobby, anything that baker can do, the bakery chain can do. In states with RFRAs, Chick-Fil-A can, literally, place “No Gays Allowed” signs on their doors, just as that Indiana pizzeria did. That may seem unlikely, but consider more insidious practices, like keeping same-sex families out of condo developments, banks refusing to hire LGBT employees. This is the point: not just to exempt individual believers, but to maintain the separate and unequal status of LGBT people.

For certain, this debate will likely continue on the legislative floors, campaign emails, online news sites and blogs, and Sunday pulpits.  Also for certain, with the Louisiana legislature in session for the next two months, with Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal on the campaign and television trail, and with Perkins being one of the strongest defenders of "traditional marriage" and "religious liberty" and against "gay rights", Louisiana current and ex-politician will surely have their say as they both lead the way in the conflict between religious rights versus the right to live one's life free of discrimination.

(Photo: Tony Perkins)

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