First, I was on a call yesterday with three dozen pastors in Georgia who are growing more and more angry at both Governor Deal and his floor leaders in the House for not pushing S.B. 129, the state religious freedom legislation. While most of the anger was directed at David Ralston, Governor Deal is about to have a preacher problem on his hands at a time he’s been using preachers to build support for his education plan.
Second, four national organizations reached out to me yesterday about S.B. 129. They all think local leaders lobbying for it are, in the words of one, “compromised.” The sense is that some of the local religious leaders and lobbyists are hearing promises from people they have relationships with and, as a result of those promises that won’t be kept, they’re not doing what they need to do. My sense from these conversations is we are about to see national groups get involved on behalf of S.B. 129.
Third, I shouldn’t say “my sense is.” Because I volunteered myself last night. The national groups are tired of assurances from the local guys who can’t seem to move the ball any further. Speaker Ralston gave a great opening to S.B. 129 supporters. I’ll be recording phone calls targeting Republican members of the legislature pointing out they voted for a tax increase, but haven’t voted to protect the religious liberty of their constituents. I’ve already recorded two versions targeting Blue Ridge and Ellijay referencing the calls and emails I’m getting that Speaker Ralston’s office is hanging up on Christians. But there’ll be others as well.
I’ve also done one for Beth Beskin’s district, both Bubber Epps and Allen Peake here in Middle Georgia, and Wendell Willard in Sandy Springs. I’ll be spending a good bit of today recording others, particularly focused in the Middle Georgia and Atlanta metro area, where I have a regular media presence. I know Peake and Epps both support S.B. 129, but I was asked to do one for every Republican in the State House who voted for the transportation tax increase. So I am. I don’t think they’ll send them all out, but they’ve got me recording one for all of them.
In a nutshell, the GOP in Georgia is voting to raise taxes and take over schools, but won’t pass a law to protect the religious convictions of its voters. It is the perfect robocall for a state whose elected officials claim not just to be “Republican”, but to be Christians and conservatives.
We’re moving from “make them see the light” to “make them feel the heat.”