There is something happening in our state right now that chills me to the bone – and fires me up t0 act. Fire and Ice – a powerful combination! I hope you will be likewise motivated!!
If you already know about FADA – scroll down now to TAKE ACTION for simple, explicit steps on what you can do – TODAY.
Time is of the essence. As in now. Tomorrow, literally, may be too late. I don’t like urgency and fear tactics – I rail against them – BUT, this isn’t a tactic – there is no leeway timewise on this situation:
On Friday (2 days ago), the GA Senate voted to pass “FADA” – the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act”. TOMORROW the Georgia House of Representatives can vote it into law…..and they must be persuaded to STOP this madness.
In a nutshell, here’s what this law would do: Legalize Discrimination.
It is being touted as “protecting religious freedom” – but make no mistake, this bill is NOT about religious freedom. It is about state sanctioned, legalized bigotry. It is fear and hatred mongering at its worst.
Freedom of religion is already guaranteed IN THE CONSTITUTION.
What THIS bill does is make it legal for anyone A N Y O N E to refuse service to people they decide are not good or acceptable based on their religious beliefs. This means doctors, nurses, lawyers, business owners, employees – ANYONE can decide to promote hatred and bigotry by declining service.
It is targeted at but not limited to the LGBT community. This means people can legally put up signs on their doors such as “no gays allowed”. And it sets a very dangerous precedent for expanded legislation to allow anyone who decides their religious beliefs require them to denounce Muslims or Blacks or Jews or people with red hair, t0 LEGALLY refuse service based on ANY of those characteristics as well. All by itself, this legislation is heinous – even worse (if such a thing is possible), it marks the start of a VERY slippery slope.
Most of us are too young to remember “White” and “Colored” drinking fountains. This bill is a modern day version of that discriminatory era.
And here’s the kicker – what makes acting TODAY or EARLY (before 8:30am) Monday morning SO essential: The Senate structured this legislation in a manner that makes it possible to go directly to a vote in the House, without having to go to committee for vetting (the normal process) – which means the House can (and in all likelihood will) vote on this on Monday. As in TOMORROW. This is railroading – and it’s our collective rights and well-being that are being thrown out in fear-mongering for political gain in an election year.
REPRESENTATIVES NEED TO HEAR YOUR VOICE NOW.
Here’s a step-by-step way I’ve created (and found useful) to make sure your Representative KNOWS he or she is NOT representing YOU if he/she supports FADA:
1) Write down (or better yet, type up) exactly what you want to say – An example follows. Keep it short, clear, and polite. You can be strong in voice without being attacking, and that is important if you want your message heard. Also, you will be speaking to someone paid to answer phones whose primary job is to note how many calls come in on which issues and what their stance is – yay or nay. This person has no authority, but does have the potential to pass along messages in a positive OR a discounting manner. You don’t want to fall into the latter category. Speak from your heart – that’s where we connect with one another. You want to connect with the person who answers the phone.
2) Go to this link & type in your STREET address with zip
(note – a pop-up box will come up saying the site wants you to allow them to know your location – this isn’t necessary, so click “don’t allow” – unless you don’t know your address…which seems rather unlikely!)
Both your State Senator and Representative will show up.
3) Click on the name of your REPRESENTATIVE
(Not your Senator. This bill has already zipped, literally, through the Senate.)
4) Take a deep breath. This step is really important – especially if you are nervous, if you are telling yourself your call isn’t going to make a difference, or if you are about to pop a gasket and might “go off” on whomever answers the phone.
Still anxious, furious or uncertain? Put your hand on the middle of your chest. Breathe deeply into your heart. Connect with the core of why this issue is important to you. Listen behind your fear (anger, anxiousness, resentment, etc) for the yearning of your heart. It may be that this is important to you because you value respect, acceptance, understanding, or building bridges rather than inciting divisiveness. Tova Payne writes, “Speaking your truth happens by paying attention to the voice of your heart and intuition, and allowing that truth to be spoken.” She’s spot on. Maggie Kuhn’s words add to that: “Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind — even if your voice shakes.” (Note: Maggie Kuhn didn’t start publicly speaking her truth about social justice until she was 65 – and then she kept right on doing so until her death at 90 in 1995. She was a diminutive gray haired woman who found her voice and used it meaningfully. If she could do it, ANY of us can!)
5) Pick up the phone, dial the number for your Representative. Take another deep breath while the phone rings.
6) Identify yourself:
Hello, I am ___(your name)____.
I live in ___(your town)___ Georgia.
I am a ________(mother/father, job/profession, title, business owner, very concerned citizen – whatever identifies you in a truthful way that makes you more real to the person on the other end of the line).
_____(name of Representative)____ is my State Representative.
7) Share what you wrote down to say.
I am calling because…….
8) Thank whomever answers the phone for listening (even if it’s an answering machine).
9) Send what you wrote in an email as a follow-up. PLEASE do not just skip to this step. A 1-minute phone call is more effective than 500 emails or signatures on a petition. Trust me, they have done the research on this. In general, elected officials hear from less than 5% of their constituents, and the vast majority of even that small percentage is in the form of emails, form letters, and petition signatures. PHONE CALLS REALLY STAND OUT!
(After identifying yourself.)
I am calling to voice my deep, strong opposition to FADA.
I value freedom of religion, and I am glad that it is clearly guaranteed in our US Constitution.
I also celebrate the wonderful diversity of our population and value respect to all.
FADA promotes discrimination – it fuels hatred and division and has no place in our state. It is morally and fiscally irresponsible. FADA nothing more than a new version of the segregation laws that are such a shameful part of our history – this time not against blacks, but against people who are Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered or Bi-sexual. FADA is NOT about freedom of religion. It is a license to hate and discriminate. I strongly urge Representative _______ to vote for the wellbeing of the whole state and not give in to the fear-mongering and bigotry that this bill promotes.
Thank you for your time and for registering my total opposition to this bill.
For more information:
“FADA includes the troubling language that people can be discriminated against based on their sexual habits,” said Sen. Elena Parent (D-Decatur) during the Senate debate. “This sanctions discrimination against single mothers, people who have had affairs, people who co-habitate, people who are divorced, people who are remarried and many others.” http://www.11alive.com/story/news/2016/02/19/ga-senate-passes-1st-amendment-defense-act/80627210/
Georgia Unites Against Discrimination leader, Jeff Graham, explains the current situation:
During Friday’s Senate debate Sen. Nan Orrock warned her fellow members: “Disabuse yourselves of the notion that FADA has been vetted.”
She was right.
After mere days to review complex and broadly defined legislation, the Senate called the discriminatory First Amendment Defense Act to vote. When fair-minded lawmakers attempted to add amendments that would have barred discrimination under FADA—they were blocked.
That’s not even the worst part. The Senate knew what it was doing when it sneakily tacked this heinous bill onto a piece of legislation that the House of Representatives had already passed (the Pastor Protection Act). Now, FADA can bypass House committee and go straight to a vote. Representatives could move to approve this legislation without even holding debate.
This is dirty politics at its basest. Legislators know that a majority Georgians, 300+ leaders in businesses and hundreds of clergy members oppose the harmful First Amendment Defense Act. Instead of listening to the people they represent, they’re pulling shady tricks to force FADA through the Legislature, regardless the cost.
Georgia Clergy Oppose FADA
Why Everyone should be concerned about FADA: