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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Fact v. Fiction on religious freedom laws

If you're generally favorable toward protecting religious freedom but are wondering what the story is about newly enacted state laws that parallel the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), below are some helpful resources from the Family Research Council.
Many are short enough to use as tweets along with the hashtag #RFRAfacts

New Short Backgrounder on RFRA from FRC: http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF15C119.pdf  

Why are state RFRAs needed today?

- State RFRAs have been needed to protect against undue state/local govt interference in religious exercise http://ow.ly/L4PKx

What do RFRAs actually do?

- RFRAs give courts tried-and-true balancing test for weighing individual sincerely held relig beliefs against legitimate state interests.
- All RFRAs protect people with sincerely-held religious beliefs from over-intrusive government regulation http://ow.ly/L4QMW
- RFRAs winnow out those using religion as a pretext to escape application of general laws.

How does the RFRA balancing test work?

- RFRAs allow a person to ask a court to consider their religious beliefs as a basis for claim or defense in a judicial proceeding.

Who does RFRA protect?

- Whom does RFRA protect? (Hint: Everyone.) http://ow.ly/L4RHm 
- When federal RFRA passed in 1993, a coalition of groups from across the religious, political, and legal spectrum came together to support it.
- RFRA laws advance conscience rights for all in the face of ever larger & more intrusive government--no more, and no less.

But aren't RFRAs just an excuse to discriminate or hide behind my religious beliefs?

- RFRAs do not allow businesses to turn away customers or engage in discrimination as they see fit. http://ow.ly/L4TXx
- In no cases do RFRAs allow people to automatically appeal to religion to opt out of obeying a law. http://ow.ly/L4U5Z
- RFRAs do protect people of all faiths whose sincere beliefs are in danger of being unnecessarily burdened by the government.
- RFRAs are the best protection for everyone, allowing people of all beliefs to continue living free of intrusive government.

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