by Ron GregoryOkay, does some normally sane person somewhere actually think the original Religious Freedom Restoration bill is good for West Virginia? I have serious doubts one could be found.As the legislative session in Charleston winds to an end, House Bill 4012 should better be called the “Right to Discriminate” bill. Discrimination, to be frank, has been out of style for … oh, maybe 50 or so years. It is also wrong to discriminate for any reason.I have puzzled over the religious zealots who somehow think their interpretation of “Christianity” should be forced upon the world at large. If a bible-thumper thinks the gay lifestyle is anti-Christian, then he or she believes he or she can use any method available to discriminate against the gay person. I have not seen THAT text in the King James-approved Bible but it MUST be there as many as there are who believe it.It is with a brief sigh of relief that one contemplates that the State Senate appears to be showing some common sense in amending the House-passed HB4012 to make it almost ineffective.Accolades go to one of our own, State Senator Ron Stollings of Boone County, for leading the fight for sanity in the Senate. An amendment by Stollings and Senator Corey Palumbo of Kanawha took most of the bite out of the bill. In fact, it was so strong that, when passed on a 23-11 vote, the Family Policy Council of West Virginia said it made the bill “neutralized.”It is the Family Policy Council who has pushed passage of the original bill. While I agree with the Council on many things, discriminating against people who do not agree with the majority is not one of them.I keep being reminded of those bible-thumpers who insist “America was founded on Christianity.” As I have noted many times, apparently Founding Fathers George Washington and John Adams didn’t know that since both signed the Treaty of Tripoli. That Treaty, still available for one and all to look at, says the U.S. “never was and never will be” a Christian nation.I am generally harsh in my own portrayal of fundamental Christians. But since some of them are genuinely great people who are simply misled, I will try to be gentler in my criticism. Nowhere, I think, can any of them come up with a basis for discriminating against others.When my friend tells me that she is “going to quote the Bible” to me, I wonder if she realizes what a strong argument can be made that the King James version approves slavery? Bible stories — and I believe that is just what they are — often are contradictory and impossible to comprehend based on normal logic.Unlike the House, where delegates generally have walked in lock-step with their tea party commanders, the Senate wavered when it came to this bill. In fact, Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael of Jackson County argued for the Stollings amendment in passionate language.Carmichael, to his ever-lasting credit, said he could never condone something that said it is okay to discriminate against the LGTB community.Unfortunately, Senate President Bill Cole, the Republican candidate for Governor in this year’s election, voted against the Stollings change. Cole is a genuinely good man who I don’t believe would ever discriminate against anyone. But he has taken the wrong position here in solidifying his conservative base.Since there are now two dramatically different versions of the bill, it is possible nothing will be passed this session. There is little time left for compromise as adjournment looms. Failure to pass the bill might well be the best thing that ever happened to Cole and his fellow GOP candidates. There is no way they could defend the original bill on the campaign trail.Although supporters of the bill say it makes it more difficult to discriminate against people because of their religious beliefs, it is widely viewed as being a response to municipalities that have passed ordinances banning discrimination against gays, lesbians, bi-sexuals and others.Palumbo also said that, if the legislation is passed as originally written, it will harm the state’s ability to recruit tourism events to the state. Stollings said companies and factories would be “less likely” to locate here if the legislation passes.“Do they (supporters) really think a bill like this helps bring in jobs and industry?” he asked rhetorically. “It would have just the opposite effect.”True words from the fine Madison physician. Let us hope his views win the day on this one or West Virginia is in bigger trouble than ever.* * * * * *Establishment Republican responses to the Presidential candidacy of New York businessman Donald Trump shine quite a light on how politics works. GOP leaders are clearly not concerned with who their strongest candidate is. It is clearly Trump.Instead, Republican aristocrats with their boxers in a wad, make every effort to derail Trump in favor of … Lord pity us … Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. It is of no consequence to these GOP leaders that the masses are for Trump and say so with their ballots.This is also not a new phenomenon. Republicans have long encouraged candidates who cannot win to the detriment of proven winners. John McCain, for example, had about as much chance of being elected President as I do, yet the GOP establishment pushed him to the hilt.* * * * * *One other little lesson in Politics 101 that seems difficult for candidates to grasp is that multiple candidates campaigning together is not effective. Well, it IS somewhat effective because it COSTS candidates votes.The only thing to be accomplished when more than one candidate shows up at the door is to cement the belief that the candidates are running “as a team.” If the person behind the door has any reason to dislike or mistrust any of the “team” members, the vote is likely lost by all.Folks can talk themselves hoarse telling candidates how many “friends” they have and offer to walk door-to-door in a locality with the other candidates. The end result is picking up all enemies — not friends.It is a simple concept and one that should be noticed by candidates far and wide. Tell me you ever saw Joe Manchin or Arch Moore come to your door with a SECOND candidate. It NEVER happened.* * * * * *Your comments, story ideas, gossip or instances of winning candidates campaigning as “teams” are welcome. Use my email listed or call my cell, 304-533-5185.