(04/20/2015) The Religious Freedom Restoration Act?

Posted: April 20, 2015 in America, Catholics, Faith and Works, Islam, Law, LGBT, Native Americans, Religious Liberty, Sects
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Today, a PDF document (3 p.) is described discussing Federal legislation that provides necessary legal protections for people of faith who seek to live out their spiritual commitments in daily life.  Nearly unanimous bipartisan support was garnered within both houses of Congress for this law addressing restoration of religious liberty.  A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court (called Employment Division v. Smith) made it more difficult for religious believers to challenge laws that constrained their ability to live out their faith.  In that case, Native Americans were fired from their jobs because they used peyote as part of their religion.  The RFRA was intended to affirm and buttress the First Amendment of the Constitution that guarantees the free exercise of religion.  Twenty states are reported as having adopted their own versions of RFRA, and another eleven states have similar provisions in place provided by state court decisions.  RFRA is reported as supplying a balancing test when the government attempts to restrict the free exercise of religion.  In general, RFRAs help people of minority faiths who cannot secure legislative exemptions for specific practices maintained among themselves.

 

THE KINGS SPEAR:  I am continuing to review documents posted in the “Bishop’s Advocacy Activity on Religious Liberty” page at the Internet site of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB).  The Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty has published a “must read” PDF document on the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) [http://usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/upload/Why-the-Religious-Freedom-Restoration-Act-Works.pdf].

The Federal law enacted in 1993 under Bill Clinton is described using a Q&A format that presents the following six questions:

1. Does RFRA provide a “license to discriminate” against gay people?

2. What are the safeguards built into RFRA?

3. Why is any RFRA necessary at all?

4. Since there is already a federal RFRA, why do states need their own?

5. Who really benefits from RFRAs?

6. What is the impact of RFRA on current debates over “same-sex marriage” and laws prohibiting “sexual orientation” and “gender identity”
discrimination?

See Why the Religious Freedom Restoration Act Works/The Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, April 07, 2015.

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together:  and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.  Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me.  But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of.  For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you:  because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.  And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee.  But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest:  for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.  And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.  And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.  (Acts 28:  17-24, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: Human Law, Divine Favor? (03/23/2015); The American Covenant? (03/03/2015); On Christians Being Inclusive? (07/16/2014); War and Peace (07/17/2014); Separation of Church and State (07/04/2014); The Point of Wisdom? (07/05/2014); Holiday Displays? (12/07/2012); An Attack Upon Creation? (12/08/2012); The Crux of the Matter (10/26/2012); Women Ordained to Minister? (10/27/2012)

 

There is far more to be said, correctly applied, and spiritually understood.  (For example, members of minority faiths in the U. S. (e.g., Baha’i, Hindu, Muslims and Sikhs) and those operating family-owned businesses must have further protection through the law when their beliefs continue and promote practices in opposition to state or local antidiscrimination laws.  Their legitimate conscientious objections may appear as expressions of “unjust discrimination,” yet, are exactly what is intend when America speaks of religious freedom protected by strong law.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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