On Tuesday, state Rep. Mike Johnson will be back to present another bill to the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee that aims to discriminate against the LGBT citizens of this state under the guise of religious objection.

This bill, House Bill 597, is called the Pastor Protection Act. While the bill is cleverly titled to make it seem like an innocuous bill, it is truly an attempt to enshrine discrimination against a group of people using religion as the reason.

Our state is better than this bill. Our state embraces diversity and the value of each citizen. We can not be another Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee or any other state that allows discrimination on any level.

This same “religious freedom” line was used in the 1960s to allow for racism. It was wrong then, and it is wrong today. It is very telling that many people who are pro-life and profess that every life is sacred and needs to be protected abandons those lives once born. This is an un-Christian and, frankly, offensive piece of legislation.

Think of the terrible message this bill sends to the LGBT children and youth of our state as well as the children who have same-sex parents.

There is a wonderful quote that says it all: “If you have to make laws to hurt a group of people just to prove your morals and faith, then you have no real morals or faith to prove.” Amen to that.

I urge the members of the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee to kill this bill in committee.

Babs Johnson

youth advocate

New Orleans