Phillip Baber joined other faith leaders in speaking out against DeSantis’ proposed anti-protest bill. Below is Phllip’s Statement:
This legislation we oppose (HB1/SB 484) was drafted by its sponsors long before the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The intent of this bill, from its inception, was to crush dissent representing a particular political ideology. Any suggestion otherwise—from our governor or any other public servant—is entirely disingenuous. On Thursday of last week, The Guardian cited a report indicating that police in the United States were three times more likely to use force against individuals protesting issues on the political left as compared to rightwing protesters. Per The Guardian, “In the past 10 months, US law enforcement agencies have used teargas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and beatings at a much higher percentage at Black Lives Matter demonstrations than at pro-Trump or other rightwing protests.”
In other words, there is hard data indicating the government is already using nominally neutral laws and enforcement policies against its political enemies. We know the DeSantis Bill will be applied asymmetrically and with ideological prejudice to suppress the Constitutional rights of the governor’s political enemies—to chill the freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly for Black Americans, for the impoverished, and for those whose faith calls them to defend the orphan and the widow.
This bill will grant even greater power to the state to engage in actions that violate the ideals of this nation and offend the righteousness of a God who defends the oppressed. So it is little wonder that people of faith and people of conscience all across Florida are rising together in opposition to this insultingly transparent attempt by the governor to use the power of his office to silence his political opponents. To scare them into submission.
Mr. DeSantis: Whether this bill passes or not, I promise you: We will not be silenced. And we will not submit.
“Anti-Riot and Police Defunding Bill Moves in House Subcommittee”
The Florida Bar