In assessing the poorest, dumbest, laziest, fattest, most-ridiculed and least competitive states in America, Mississippi always ranks right up there with South Carolina. Seriously … “thems like peas n carrots.” Or lard and butter, for accuracy’s sake.

Whenever a new national ranking comes out, South Carolina and Mississippi are invariably at the top of the bad lists and the bottom of the good ones. As a result these two Inbred Belt states are constantly generating negative national headlines. This week it’s Mississippi’s turn – specifically the turn of its governor, “Republican” Phil Bryant.

During a speech to the Neshoba County Fair, Bryant said it was his “divine responsibility” to oppose abortion and keep school prayer and gun ownership legal – according to the Associated Press.

Hmmmmm …

This website also opposes abortion. And we’re slightly to the right of Attila when it comes to our love of the Second Amendment. And on the issue of school prayer, we don’t care what elected officials think – because government shouldn’t be in the education business in the first place. At any level.

Here’s our problem with what Bryant said … by invoking a “divine calling,” he is shamelessly (and dangerously) misappropriating moral authority unto himself. Authority which he does not possess. He’s also effectively telling the people of Mississippi he is answerable not to them – but rather to his conception of God (the United Methodist version of Jesus, we’re told).

That’s an exceedingly dangerous construct …

Some of the most brutal, “un-Christian” injustices in the world are the direct result of leaders appropriating “divine responsibility” unto themselves … or “killing in the name of,” as one of our favorite bands Rage Against The Machine once sang. And while we’ve grown increasingly sour on the efficacy of democracy, one thing isn’t up for debate as far as we’re concerned: Any form of government which refuses to provide for religious freedom (or seeks to establish one religion at the expense of all the others) is an inherently immoral and tyrannical regime.

All of which is why Phil Bryant might want to consider walking back his Jesus-speak …