Religious conservatives hoping to cement their ability to be as anti-gay as they want to be will gather in a Lilburn church next month, hold hands and plot with Georgia lawmakers fueling the "religious freedom" fight.
Don't mistake this for the RedState Gathering. That was the anti-gay presidential lovefest in Buckhead earlier this month. This is the 2015 version of the Defending Our Religious Liberties Seminar, where for $20 you can kiki with fired Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran, state Sen. Josh McKoon and state Rep. Sam Teasley, anti-gay attorney Jonathan Crumly from the Alliance Defending Freedom, and Mike Griffin, a spokesperson for the anti-gay Georgia Baptist Convention. You'll even hear a message from U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
You know, all the players wanting to wage war with gay Atlanta over "religious freedom." People of faith! Defending religious liberties! Traditional values! Hear all those dog whistles?
This one-day event is geared for people of faith so that “average” citizens can learn about the importance of defending our religious liberties. Workshops and breakout sessions focus on practical steps to push back against the continual erosion of these liberties and traditional values.
Let's take a look at the guest list.
The state senator is the daddy of the anti-gay "religious freedom" legislation that came a little too close to passing the legislature earlier this year. It roiled the State Capitol, split Republicans, drew the ire of business leaders and prompted rallies on both sides. McKoon fought all attempts to add LGBT protections to his bill to address concerns that it's an attempt to gut non-discrimination policies in place in scores of municipalities across the state.
After McKoon lost, he pitched a fit on the Senate floor and then went to work strategizing about how much anti-gay legislation he can propose during the 2016 session.
The state House lawmaker has stood with McKoon for two years in trying to pass the "religious freedom" legislation. Last year, he testified at a contentious hearing for his legislation. This year, he dropped it after an interparty squabble with Republicans more powerful than him.
Mayor Kasim Reed canned Cochran as Atlanta fire chief in January after his book full of anti-gay, misogynistic and anti-Semitic prose surfaced. LGBT activists cheered his termination while religious conservatives jeered (and blamed the city's gay mafia).
Cochran basically fired himself after taunting the mayor with appearances before churches and the Georgia Baptist Convention during the city's investigation. And once fired, he complained to the feds, sued and went on tour to anyone willing to give him a buck to whine about being a victim.
Crumly from the Alliance Defending Freedom is Cochran's new bestie and the group is credited for being the legislative puppeteer behind "religious freedom" bills in Georgia and other states.
He's the affable spokesperson and lobbyist for the Georgia Baptist Convention who helped lower a religious hammer on the heads of lawmakers waffling over McKoon's "religious freedom" legislation. He blamed the bill's failure on "fear mongering" and "religious phobia" and said passing the anti-gay bill ought to be as easy as a preacher wanting fried chicken. Really.
Fresh off his appearance at RedState and a bus tour of the South, Cruz returns – thanks to video technology – to cheer on these religious defenders. Cruz castigated the Supreme Court for legalizing gay marriage, backs "religious freedom" measures and really can't stop himself from opposing any LGBT measure.
Cruz and McKoon are bros as the state senator is on the U.S. senator's presidential cheerleading squad in Georgia.
So make plans to attend the Sept. 1 conference at Berean Baptist Church in Lilburn. If you can stomach it, stay for all eight hours. Or just do the evening seminar.