Tags: democrats | majority | religious freedom | rfra

Democrat Majority Would Move to Gut Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Democrat Majority Would Move to Gut Religious Freedom Restoration Act
Sen. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) speaks about U.S. President Trump's travel ban outside the U.S. Supreme Court following a court issued immigration ruling June 26, 2018, in Washington, D.C. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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Wednesday, 31 October 2018 10:49 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Democrats in Congress have 200 House and Senate co-sponsors of bills gutting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Yet only three nay votes were cast when RFRA became law 25 years ago, signed by President Bill Clinton, on November 16, 1993.

But now many former supporters of religious liberty have abandoned RFRA.

Pushing for another big cultural shift, the Democrats’ proposed law would make religious freedom secondary to the progressive agenda, placed beneath the LGBTQ agenda and abortion rights.

This would be a first — for an explicit First Amendment right to be declared inferior to things not mentioned in the Constitution. But left-wing activists claim that religious freedom is just a cover for wrongful discrimination.

Their legislative vehicles to gut RFRA are HR 3222, sponsored by Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, III (D-MA), and 171 other House members, all Democrats, plus the companion S 2918, authored by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) with 28 more Democrat Senators as co-sponsors. They call these the “Do No Harm Act” and there are zero Republican co-sponsors.

If Democrats take either house of Congress, they expect to add more supporters from candidates running in the midterm elections.

Shrewdly, the sponsors do not repeal RFRA outright, but instead amend it to exempt a long list of progressive policies from RFRA’s protections. Faith-based objections could no longer be considered involving abortion rights, labor union activism, protections of sexual orientation or gender identity, plus other listed items. The proposal even states that preventing “harm” to someone’s dignity is valued above religious beliefs.

RFRA states that no federal law or policy can be allowed to substantially burden anyone’s exercise of religious freedom — unless government can prove a compelling interest to justify the interference.

The Supreme Court has applied RFRA to protect religious rights in the Hobby Lobby and Masterpiece Cake cases. The left’s intent is to reverse those decisions, to protect judicially-decreed same-sex marriage, and to open the door to more social engineering by government.

The effort dramatizes how American culture and politics have changed in 25 years. Definitions of religious freedom have narrowed as secular values have been given priority.

Groups that endorse this undoing of RFRA include the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Human Rights Campaign, Center for American Progress, Lambda Legal, NAACP, NARAL, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Organization of Women, and Planned Parenthood.

Also under attack are state-level versions of RFRA. Those were enacted in 21 states after the U.S. Supreme Court in 1997 ruled that RFRA protects only against intrusive laws on the federal level.

As RFRA reaches its 25th anniversary, most Americans do not know about this effort to send it into oblivion. Because only Democrat lawmakers are supporting this, keeping RFRA has become an important issue. The midterm elections may decide if our religious freedoms will again be sacrificed to the progressive agenda.

Ernest Istook says he's "in recovery" from serving 14 years as a U.S. Congressman from Oklahoma and 25 years overall in public office. Istook now teaches political science at Utah Valley University, the largest college in that state. Istook was a Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation and a Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics. He also is founder and president of Americans for Less Regulation. Istook’s breadth of insights and experience include government spending, regulations, religious freedom, transportation, national defense, homeland security, healthcare, and everything in-between. Many of his abundant writings are available at his website, www.istook.com, and Istook holds a journalism degree from Baylor University and a law degree from Oklahoma City University. He is admitted to practice law in Oklahoma, Utah, the U.S. Supreme Court, and multiple other federal courts. He and his wife Judy have five children and 14 grandchildren. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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Democrats in Congress have 200 House and Senate co-sponsors of bills gutting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Yet only three nay votes were cast when RFRA became law 25 years ago, signed by President Bill Clinton, on November 16, 1993.
democrats, majority, religious freedom, rfra
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2018-49-31
Wednesday, 31 October 2018 10:49 AM
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