April 06, 2016 - Wednesday
Big Business's Big Problem
The media writes, but does it read? Too few seem to, based on the coverage of Mississippi's new religious liberty law. After Governor Phil Bryant (R-Miss.) signed a bill that essentially reaffirmed the First Amendment, headlines across the country screamed that Mississippi had just given Americans a "license to discriminate." "Mississippi governor signs law allowing businesses to deny service to gay people," some read -- regardless of the fact that the measure does no such thing!
Governor Bryant, like the 20 states with religious liberty laws before him, didn't create a new "religious right" for businesses to turn people away. No believer I know would want that, let alone lobby for it. Despite what the Left would have you think, this debate isn't about Christians discriminating against anyone -- it's about stopping the government from discriminating against them! All that Mississippi leaders have done is make sure that the state can't punish, fine, fire, or block someone from a government work for believing in natural marriage. The Left lies about what the bill does because they know if people knew the truth, they'd probably support it! And a level playing field -- the same one they used to demand for their own values -- is not what they want for men and women of faith. Forced acceptance is.
Meanwhile, Big Business apparently hasn't bothered to read the Mississippi bill either and is shaking its collective fist at Governor Bryant for daring to do what voters asked of him. The same goes for North Carolina's Pat McCrory (R). Corporate bullies -- like PayPal, who just claimed they were canceling an expansion planned in Charlotte -- are vowing retribution. That's just fine with Lt. Governor Dan Forest (R-N.C.), who knows that the only ones these businesses will be hurting is themselves. "If our action in keeping men out of women's bathrooms and showers protected the life of just one child or one woman from being molested or assaulted, then it was worth it. North Carolina will never put a price tag on the value of our children. They are precious and priceless. If a corporation wanting to do business in North Carolina does not see the worth of our children in the same light, then I wish them well as they do business somewhere else."
Here's the problem for the corporate elites who've been blinded by this rainbow. For years, they've benefited from their relationship with social conservative policymakers, who also happen to be the most consistent on free market policy. When Big Business needed allies in the fights against taxes and government reform, do you think they called liberal politicians? Of course not. They leaned on the same conservatives they're betraying in North Carolina and Mississippi. Why? Because these favorable business climates only come from conservative legislators who understand that real freedom leads to economic growth. That's why red states like Mississippi and North Carolina are so enticing to businesses, because their social values have not only built a foundation for workforce and family success, but thriving corporations too. If intolerant bullies like PayPal want to move to high-regulation, high-tax states, let them!
Look at Boeing. The company held an exhaustive search for their headquarters in 2011 and ultimately decided to go to South Carolina instead of Washington State, because the policies were less onerous and burdensome. Ask yourself: How many companies are rushing to relocate to California and New York? After PayPal's announcement yesterday (a highly ironic one given their own restroom policy), Vermont Governor Peter Shumlim (D) -- one of the zealots banning travel to the state -- invited the company to set up shop there. Just imagine how much more it would cost them in wages, taxes, and land to do so! As most of these blustering CEOs are about to find out, your bottom line takes a hit when you're a puppet of LGBT activists. Angie's List was Exhibit A. When it vowed to pull out of Indiana over the state's conscience protections, the public backlash cost CEO Bill Oesterle his job. The one-time GOP advisor gambled his company's reputation on the Left's view of religious liberty (namely, that Christians shouldn't have any) -- and lost.
In the end, what do you think concerns shareholders? That their company caters to the bathroom demands of less than one half of one percent of the population -- or the return on their investment? If Big Business wants to be a willing hostage of LGBT activists and pull out of conservative states, be our guest. It won't be too long before they're replaced by someone who's not only highly motivated, but who sows more into the community than division.
For liberals, who'd hoped their petty boycotts would scare states into submission, the strategy isn't exactly working according to plan. Instead, what people are beginning to realize is that pushing these radical policies backfires on the whole state. Eventually, fewer people will be willing to touch them. As Rep. Dan Bishop told reporters this week, "When I cautioned Mayor Roberts in January not to drive our community into this turmoil, this is the kind of thing I recognized would be a possibility," Bishop said. "It's not about H.B. 2... it's instead about a frenzy that the mayor and her allies on city council have whipped up... I think she might consider that she stop calling in airstrikes on her own position."
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.