Legislative update: liberty bill awaits action

“Listen to your conscience.” It’s a hallmark of our faith. Yet, freedom of conscience is at risk all across America. Catholic Charities and other faith-based adoption agencies in other states have been forced to stop serving children because their policies require homes with a married mother and father.
A Massachusetts college almost lost its accreditation because of its adherence to the Bible’s teaching on sexual morality. A Pennsylvania homeless shelter was threatened with loss of funding because of its beliefs regarding marriage, even though it served all-comers and never had a complaint.
Such instances of government-sanctioned discrimination are the reason why the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is supporting federal legislation to protect conscience rights. Here in Mississippi, we can do our part by joining with Bishops Joseph Kopacz and Roger Morin in supporting HB 1523: “The Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.” The bill is currently being studied by the Senate Judiciary A committee and needs to pass out of committee by March 22.
As the USCCB warns: “It is becoming apparent that some who promote marriage redefinition do not support the coexistence and tolerance of different ideas in a pluralistic society but instead have a ‘comply or else’ agenda.” State-level legislation, such as HB 1523, would protect Mississippi churches, schools, nonprofits and public employees from government discrimination.