Religious-Freedom Law Marks First Anniversary

The Christian Century, January 4, 1995 | Go to article overview

Religious-Freedom Law Marks First Anniversary


After neighbors complained, zoning officials in Washington, D.C., sought to block a Presbyterian church from running a feeding program for poor and homeless residents. The church won its case in court this past September, thanks to a law with the unlikely acronym of RFRA. RFRA - the Religious Freedom Restoration Act - was signed into law in November 1993 in an effort to keep the government from impinging on Americans' religious freedom. Under the law local, state and national government officials must show a "compelling state interest" before they can block a religious practice.

A little over a year later, RFRA is credited m4th helping religious groups that were beleaguered by what they saw as an erosion of their rights by the courts and legislative bodies. At the same time the new law has defied the predictions of its critics, who claimed it would open the way for all manner of bizarre and dangerous religious practices. "In its first year of application, it has worked very well," said J. Brent Walker, general counsel of the Washington-based Baptist Joint Committee, a coalition of 12 Baptist bodies that works on church-state and religious-liberty issues. "Although we haven't won all the cases, RFRA tilts the playing field. A year ago we would have lost almost every case." "It's still in its infancy," added Steven Green, legal director for Americans United for Separation of Church and State (also Washington-based). "People are still trying to figure out how it works. But so far the experience is good."

RFRA was prompted by a 1990 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Employment Division of Oregon v. Smith, which involved antidrug laws and the religious use of peyote in the Native American Church. Going beyond the specific issues of the case, the court scrapped the standard under which government needed to show a "compelling state interest" before it could restrict the free exercise of religion.

The ruling sent shock waves through the religious community, as well as through secular groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, involved in church-state issues. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Religious-Freedom Law Marks First Anniversary
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.