On April 10, 2021, Pastor Phillip Baber spoke at the Jacksonville Community Action Committee’s rally in front of City Hall against HB1/SB484 (the DeSantis anti-protest bill). Below are the comments he shared:

I am here today because my faith compels me to oppose injustice, and cruelty, and subjugation. I am here today because my faith compels me to work with others to incarnate justice, and compassion, and liberty for all. And these values—the values of the Beloved Community and the Kingdom of God—are incompatible with HB1.

The punishments outlined in this bill are an offense to deeply held values of both people of faith and people of conscience. This bill represents a suppression of basic and fundamental rights enjoyed by all citizens. And—should this bill become law—we know that these provisions will be applied asymmetrically and with ideological prejudice to chill the freedom of speech and freedom of assembly for Black Americans… for the impoverished… and for those whose faith calls them to defend the orphan and the widow.

It is an embarrassment to the state of Florida that such a proposal would receive serious consideration from our legislature when we have far more pressing problems to deal with. We are suffering through the midst of a once-in-a-lifetime economic and public-health crisis. And in the midst of this crisis, the Governor’s top legislative priority was to attack the Black Lives Matter movement and fill our jails with political prisoners.

This bill is an outrageous attempt by the state to expand the scope of its own power—to punish, intimidate, control, and dominate THE PEOPLE, from whom all political power is derived. The state de-legitimizes its own authority when it engages in repressive, authoritarian, totalitarian actions against its own people. Such tactics violate the ideals of this nation and offend the righteousness of a God who champions the oppressed.

This bill is an insultingly transparent attempt by Governor DeSantis to use the power of his office to silence his political enemies. To scare them into submission. But Mr. DeSantis: Whether this bill passes or not, I promise you: We will not be silenced. We will not submit. And we will not bend our knee to fascists.

Protest held in Jacksonville over ‘anti-mob’ bill after being approved by Senate committee