A Blow against Religious Freedom in Georgia

The Republican governor of Georgia recently vetoed a bill passed by the state legislature that would protect the right of clergy and houses of worship not to perform same-sex marriages, as well as the right of religious organizations to refrain from hiring individuals who openly disagree with their principles. Ryan T. Anderson comments:

[The veto] shows the lack of courage of many in the political class, and it also highlights the extreme nature of the left and the business community. . . . Executives from dozens of big-name companies, including Disney, Apple, Time Warner, Intel, and Salesforce, called on the governor to veto the bill. The NFL warned it could risk Atlanta’s bid for the Super Bowl and the NCAA hinted it could influence the state’s ability to host championship games. . . .

In explaining his veto, [Governor Nathan] Deal argued that the religious-liberty bill “doesn’t reflect the character of our state or the character of its people.” Leaving people free to act on their deepest religious convictions apparently isn’t one of those values. . . .

[P]rotecting minority rights after major social change is . . . a hallmark of American tolerance and pluralism. But Deal seems unwilling to do anything that might protect such people and their rights. . . . Good public policy is needed at the local, state, and federal levels to protect cherished American values. These policies would help achieve civil peace amid disagreement, maintain pluralism, and protect the rights of all Americans, regardless of what faith they may practice.

Read more at Daily Signal

More about: church and state, Freedom of Religion, Politics & Current Affairs, Religious Freedom Restoration Act

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security