Nathan Deal was born in Millen, Georgia. He grew up on a farm in Sandersville as the son of two school teachers — his mom Mary and his dad Noah. He went to college, then law school. In 1966, he joined the Army and achieved the rank of captain.
It’s an all-American story, especially after he ran for Congress – and won – before resigning so he could run for Governor of the state of Georgia. He won that too.
But what happens when normal, good people get into positions of power? It goes to their head. It corrupts. You don’t have to be a Lord of the Rings fan to know about this theme, because you can see it in every newspaper in every small town across this nation.
The Georgia bill that Deal refused to defend was modest in scope, protecting the right of clergy to solemnize marriages consistent with their religious beliefs, protecting the right of faith-based institutions to use their property and resources to advance their religious mission, protecting their rights to hire and fire employees on grounds consistent with religious belief and practice, and protecting a person’s free exercise of religion from a “substantial burden” unless the protected person was engaged in “invidious discrimination on any grounds prohibited by federal or state law.” In other words, the bill as drafted could not be used to “bring back Jim Crow,” nor could it offer any person, outside clergy and faith-based employers, any effective defense against the enforcement of state anti-discrimination laws. It wouldn’t block a single gay marriage. It wouldn’t deny a single gay person access to the marketplace. Instead, it would merely offer a bare minimum of legal protections to Georgia citizens who are already confronting anti-Christian bigotry and discrimination.
But Governor Deal couldn’t stand the heat.
Companies including Disney, Apple, Salesforce.com, and other multinational corporations said that they’d take action against the state of Georgia… even though these companies are perfectly fine doing business in – wait for it — China. The NFL threatened the state, saying this bill could endanger Atlanta’s Super Bowl bid; the NCAA said it could affect whether Atlanta could host championships.
So what did this military veteran, the son of two school teachers do? Did he stand up for his state and tell them that religious freedom was more important than their threats?
“Our people work side by side without regard to the color of our skin, or the religion we adhere to. We are working to make life better for our families and our communities. That is the character of Georgia. I intend to do my part to keep it that way. For that reason, I will veto HB 757.”
In other words, he echoed the lies of the left and gay rights’ groups and simply caved.
It’s a sad day when freedom is bartered for an NFL playoff game. It’s a sad day when freedom is expendable in the hopes of keeping a Disney studio open. It’s a sad day when Americans have to learn, once again, that our politicians lose their integrity as soon as they get into office.
In 1799, Georgia adopted a new state seal with an arch containing the word “Constitution” supported by three pillars representing the branches of government. Encircling the three pillars were these words: “Wisdom,” “Justice,” and “Moderation.” This week, all three of these virtues were overshadowed by big corporations and special interests.
Perhaps it took Governor Deal a few years to lose his compass, but his cowardly acts betrayed the state legislature of Georgia and the will of the people.
Maybe it’s time the state of Georgia starts thinking about designing a new flag. Maybe they can ask their new overlord Disney to create one for them.