Viewpoints on religious liberty

The battle over religious liberty legislation shows no sign of abating in the Georgia General Assembly. Faith, bedrock cultural beliefs and emotions have long fueled a fiery debate that has its roots in now-legal same-sex marriage and other sea changes that have washed across this land.

Last week, tempers and temperatures alike spiked to a new high around the issue. A Baptist lobbyist’s invoking Hitler’s name and actions in a letter to pastors infuriated lawmakers, many of whom are conservative Southern Baptists as well. Add in pressure from businesses warning of economic fallout if a discriminatory bill becomes law and efforts by activist groups and it’s no surprise Georgia’s helping write a new chapter in the culture wars.

As we’ve done before, we urge those on both sides of the debate to behave respectfully and, as Gov. Nathan Deal put it recently, to “take a deep breath” and realize the world is, indeed, changing. We believe those changes can be accommodated without societal trampling on either civil liberties, or people of faith’s ability to live out their beliefs.

As the deliberations roar along, we present on this page today a variety of viewpoints on this divisive issue. Some of these op-eds have been edited for space; full-length versions can be found on myAJC.com.