Indiana and Religious Freedom

Indiana and Religious Freedom

The Indiana law known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is intended to give citizens protection from federal coercion and encroachment upon religious conscience. It is intended specifically to protect conscientious objectors from participating in acts contrary to their religiously held beliefs and to allow them to seek relief against the violators of their religious conscience. In truth there is a flaw in this apparently well-intended law. And here it is from the text of the law itself:

“Sec. 6. A state action, or an action taken by an individual based upon a state action, may not substantially burden a person’s right to the exercise of religion, even if that burden results from a law or policy of general applicability unless the state or political subdivision of the state demonstrates that applying that burden to the person’s exercise of religion is: (1) essential to further a compelling government interest…”

This law, like many other 1st Amendment Preservation Acts creates a loophole for the government to justify their violations. These acts change the First Amendment standard from “shall not abridge” to the government CAN abridge as long as they can show “a compelling government interest” for their infringements. It is the same loophole that the government uses to justify circumventing the 4th Amendment to read your emails and collect your internet and phone data: a compelling government interest in national security.

According to this law, the government could perhaps argue they have a “compelling government interest” to prevent discrimination against ALL classes of people, and voila! the act is meaningless. As a result this law actually gives legal justification for the very violations it was created to prevent!

This is the danger of compensating for an unbounded GOVERNMENT exercising a power contrary to Liberty and freedom of conscience. While it is the rightful remedy for states to intercede for its citizens, it is very dangerous when it is not done properly. We may just set up new precedents to further weaken the liberties we are attempting to protect.

What we desperately need is more constitutional education and fewer laws.

Here is a more in depth explanation if you like:

Written by 

Hall is an attorney and former prosecutor who travels the country teaching the Constitution and the history that gave us our founding documents. A disabled Army veteran, KrisAnne is also a mother, a pastor’s wife and a patriot. From St. Louis, MO, she received her undergraduate degree in Bio-Chemistry from Blackburn College in 1991 and her J.D. from the University of Florida, Levin College of Law and is a former Russian Linguist for the US Army.

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