Religious Freedom - Take Two

The Christian Century, July 1, 1998 | Go to article overview

Religious Freedom - Take Two


With a rare display of broad political and religious unity, federal legislation was introduced June 9 to replace a religion protection law overturned by the Supreme Court last year. Supporters say this time their effort will pass constitutional muster. The new measure--the Religious Liberty Protection Act (RLPA)--is a narrower version of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) rejected by the high court.

Like RFRA, the new measure seeks to protect religious expression in cases in which it conflicts with other government regulations. As with RFRA, government would again have to show that it has a compelling reason, such as health or safety concerns, and is operating in the least restrictive manner to infringe upon religious practices or beliefs. RLPA, said Senator Orrin Hatch (B., Utah), "seeks to protect religious activity even in the face of general legislative rules that make worship difficult or impossible through unawareness, insensitivity or hidden hostility."

Since the court turned aside RFRA on the grounds that it unconstitutionally usurped power belonging to the federal courts, liberal and conservative religious groups and their congressional supporters in both parties have worked feverishly to come up with substitute legislation that might survive another legal challenge. Supporters say they have met that challenge by largely shifting the new measure's legal basis away from RFRA's reliance on the 14th Amendment's equal protection clauses. Instead, RLPA will rely mainly on Congress's established powers to regulate interstate commerce and spend federal funds.

For example, under RLPA individuals may not be fired because of their observance of religious holidays or dress if the company they work for receives federal funds. RLPA might also be invoked to supersede local regulations preventing construction of a church when out-of-state contractors are involved in building the structure. RLPA would also negate local zoning laws designed to exclude houses of worship.

The bill's backers, speaking at a Capitol Hill news conference, said language used to legally justify RLPA was lifted verbatim from landmark legislation used to extend rights to racial minorities and the disabled. "If the Supreme Court were to overturn this bill, it would also have to overturn the Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act," said Marc D. Stern, an American Jewish Congress attorney who helped write RLPA. "The genius of this bill is it forces no one to be religious and establishes no special class. It only requires a second look at bureaucratic regulations that are enforced blindly," Stern said. RLRA's backing in the Congress is broad and includes the leadership of the House and Senate, according to Hatch. …

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 - Take Two
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.