Pastor speaks out against Religious Freedom Restoration Act - - Jackson, MS

Pastor speaks out against Religious Freedom Restoration Act

CLINTON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Mississippi is under the national microscope. It started when the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed the Senate.

Then it was compared to controversial Arizona legislation. The outcry started before the House had the chance to take it up. Now, there's a proposal to instead turn it into a study commission.

Stan Wilson is the pastor at Northside Baptist Church in Clinton. A message of acceptance is one he didn't want to see damaged in the statehouse. He's one of five pastors that sent a letter to lawmakers-asking that they vote no on the religious freedom restoration act.

"This struck me as a fearful reactionary kind of response to changes in our culture," said Wilson. "And those fearful responses are not usually the wisest or the kindest."

Wilson says he's not aware of any real threats to religious freedom in the state. It was the potential consequences of the broad language that worried him.

"This thing seemed unnecessary and potentially unkind," Wilson explained. "I was afraid it would invite discrimination."

That's the point where people of faith and social groups backing the LGBT community are coming together on this issue.

"I think it's important to say those two groups aren't mutually exclusive," described Wilson. "There are many people of faith in the gay and lesbian community."

The House committee took out some of the controversial language. Still, last week the full House decided against rushing the bill's passage.

Speaker Philip Gunn said in a statement that attorneys had differing views on the legal impact of the bill. The House passed a version that would instead create a study commission on the issue. It's waiting on action from the Senate.

"I think a study committee is better than just passing it," admitted Wilson. "But I would advise the study committee to just kill it. We don't need it."

The House wants to keep the part of the bill that adds "In God We Trust" to the state seal.

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