Non-profit humanitarian organisation ‘Planting Peace’ hit on a pitch-perfect way to respond to the Mississippi law that now essentially legalizes discrimination against the LGBT community.
The clever reference is to one of the more odd New Testament passages, in which Jesus is depicting angrily cursing a fig tree.
The law – House Bill 1523 – permits private businesses to deny service to LGBT customers, and also essentially to anyone who has had sex out of wedlock. The bill is framed as offering freedoms to businesses, organisations and even individuals with strong religious inclinations to deny services to those members of the community that they disapprove of.
It also, in effect, demonises the LGBT community, as well as single mothers.
The wide-reaching implications of the bill become so ridiculous that, for example, a suicide hotline can refuse counseling to any LGBT caller on the basis of religious beliefs.
This religious freedom to deny services can extend to everything from homeless shelters to schools and employment.
North Carolina legislators have also passed a bill barring transgender people from bathrooms and locker rooms that do not match the gender on their birth certificates.
Described by some as one of the most flagrant civil rights violations in recent history, the bill is claimed to have been passed to defend “cultural norms”. The Republican Governor who signed the bill into law has tried to portray it as having been ‘bi-partisan’; however, not a single state Democrat voted for it.
In actual fact, Democrats refused to participate in the vote and walked out of the Senate chamber in an act of public protest.
Various companies and organisations, including PayPal, are threatening to boycott North Carolina in response.
Ardent supporters of the bill, such as the ‘Family Research Council’, have countered that “anyone with half a brain” should boycott PayPal over its ‘pro-gay’ reaction.
However, rather hilariously, the organisation’s method of receiving donations on its website is actually PayPal.
As well as the Planting Peace billboard, a satirical tourism ad created by Funny or Die has also poked fun at the bills. Says the narrator, ‘Visit Mississippi: We’re even worse than North Carolina’.