He was born to run all right. Bruce Springsteen is blowing off his tour date in North Carolina Friday because the state is daring to let businesses set their own bathroom policies. What a scandalous idea! Like other liberal extremists, The Boss (or is it Bossy?) is furious that the North Carolina government won't barge into board rooms and tell companies how to operate. Apparently he wants to do away with the free market principles that are making conservative states thrive and orchestrate a hostile takeover of businesses. "Some things are more important than a rock show, and this fight against prejudice and bigotry -- which is happening as I write -- is one of them."
"Important things" like letting grown men use a girls' restroom? Of course, Springsteen hasn't canceled his two Brooklyn concerts later this month -- despite the fact that New York State doesn't have gender-free bathrooms either. (Nor do 32 other states!) But then, no one ever accused liberals of being consistent. "It's disappointing he's not following through on his commitments," Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) fired back. "Bruce is known to be on the radical left, and he's got every right to be so, but I consider this a bully tactic."
And Springsteen isn't the only singer working in concert with LGBT activists. Bryan Adams is pulling out of his Biloxi, Mississippi stop because he says he can't "in good conscience" perform there. Ironically, conscience is exactly what this debate is about! Shouldn't Mississippians have the same right to exercise theirs? Shouldn't they be able to choose what events they participate in? Because that's exactly what the new law is about: giving Christians the same rights to live out their beliefs as someone like Bryan Adams. The Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act does what the First Amendment was intended to: guard men and women with natural marriage views from state-sponsored persecution. If you're against that, then you're against the Bill of Rights!
Unfortunately for America, the Left and Big Business bullies aren't satisfied with the Constitution, even genuinely sensible expressions of it like Mississippi's. Their goal is to tyrannize and terrorize until the country fully submits, regardless of the hypocrisy in their own corporate policies. If companies like Apple want to bash laws like Mississippi's, maybe they ought to get their own house in order first. While the tech giant is busy running over religious liberty in the name of "LGBT rights," it isn't exactly a model citizen for human rights. Even the Washington Post has called the company to the carpet for their double standard. "Apple has a presence in 17 countries where homosexual acts are illegal. In four of those nations, homosexual acts are punishable by death."
Yet still, a statement condemns the real tolerance of Governor Phil Byrant's (R-Miss.) state. "We want Mississippians to know that our stores and our company are open to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love." Guess what? So are Christians'! No one has advocated slamming the door in the face of any customer, regardless of their sexuality. But, as the University of Illinois Law School's Robin Fretwell Wilson points out, participating in or being forced to celebrate same-sex unions is different. "Marriage is not like a hamburger or a taxi ride. It's a deeply intimate service that is religiously infused... We don't want to run religious people out of the public square, nor do we want to drive lesbians and gays out of society."
Then there's Governor John Kasich (R-Ohio), who would apparently be quite happy running religious people out of the public square. In an interview with "Face the Nation" Sunday, the governor sounded more like Barack Obama than a Republican candidate for president. Like the current administration, he thinks Christians and their views should be driven underground. "I believe religious institutions ought to be protected and be able to be in a position of where they can you know, live out their deeply-held religious purposes." Like Obama, he only wants religious liberty to exist in the four walls of the church -- and nowhere else. Asked if he would have signed the North Carolina law, Kasich replied, "Probably not" (despite admitting he hadn't read it!). "Why do you need to write a law?" he said (two months after suggesting states write a law). Here's why, John. Because liberal activists aren't interested in coexistence. The governor's solution? "Everybody, chill out," he went on, "get over it if you have a disagreement with somebody." Get over it? When families' houses and lifetime savings are on the line? When their businesses are forced to close because they hold the same views on marriage that Kasich claims to?
Meanwhile, despite all of this chest-thumping, some businesses aren't foolish enough to pack their boxes and move to less favorable economic climate. Despite its public posturing, Albemarle Corp, a Louisiana-based chemical company, is moving ahead with its plans to relocate to Charlotte without a state bathroom mandate. "This law is bad for Albemarle," executives said, "and it's bad for North Carolina." But when push comes to profit, they're moving forward. Publicly, they're complaining that the law will "hurt its recruiting efforts." In a country desperate for jobs, how many people do they think are going to turn down work because of the male or female sign on a bathroom door? Here's a suggestion for Albemarle: change your bathroom policy and find out how to really hurt recruitment!
President Obama is no better. His press office has been cranking out negative statement after negative statement on the popular law. But if he truly wanted to, he could issue an executive order bringing this kind of gender chaos to every federal agency and national park in America. He hasn't because he knows how unpopular it would be. If there is one thing this president knows, it's politics -- and clearly he understands how devastating a bathroom free-for-all would be for his party in this year's election. Because in the end, no amount of liberal media, Hollywood pressure, or corporate threats are a match for the real power brokers in this debate: voters.
For more on the fallout of the Mississippi and North Carolina laws, don't miss my op-ed in USA Today, "Don't Punish Religious Belief," as well as my Fox News interview yesterday. Click on the video below to watch.
DISCLAIMER: Tony Perkins has made an endorsement in his individual and personal capacity only, and it should not be construed or interpreted in any way as the endorsement of FRC, FRC Action, or any affiliated entity.