After several weeks of intense tumult and misinformation surrounding state-level religious nondiscrimination efforts, Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of NRB, took issue with a governor seeking higher office who appeared to underestimate dangers to First Amendment freedom when he called for advocates to “chill out.”
In an on-air interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich, one of the three remaining GOP candidates for president, re-directed a question about North Carolina’s recently enacted Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act (HB 2) into a conversation about very basic religious freedom legislation that had been vetoed in Georgia (more on that bill here). Gov. Kasich said, “Everybody, chill out, get over it if you have a disagreement with somebody.”
Responding, NRB issued a release in which Dr. Johnson urged the governor to take a closer look at the legislation and threats to fundamental freedom in America. Citing the cases of former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran, florist Baronnelle Stutzman in Washington state, Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Oregon, and other examples, Dr. Johnson countered, “These are not theoretical matters, but real-life cases where religious freedom is being violated. NRB is committed to protecting the First Amendment rights of all citizens. This means not only protecting free speech, but also protecting the freedom to believe – and live – in accordance with those deeply held religious beliefs.”
Find the full NRB statement on this matter here.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: April 15, 2016