The battle over religious freedom is reverting to the statehouses since the Supreme Court struck down a federal law two years ago guaranteeing freedom of worship, reports the Christian Science Monitor (Jan. 30).
There are currently 11 states considering adopting a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which would protect religious expression from state intrusion. A federal version of the RFRA was signed by President Clinton in 1993, only to have it ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1997.
RFRA supporters representing a wide range of religious and secular groups — from conservatives to liberal secularists — are going to key states to pass the bill, such as Texas. So far, RFRA laws are on the books in five states. But passing the bill has been difficult, with a “chorus of critics — including city officials, prosecutors, and even pediatricians — fretting that such a law could spur countless lawsuits,” writes Scott Baldauf.
Texan Republican senator David Sibley thinks there may be a two-pronged approach to church state issues: the states, under the RFRA, can be the “guardians of free exercise of religion,” while the federal government will guard the separation of church and state.