Pennsylvania Law Professor Labels Religious Freedom the Next ‘Jim Crow’


A Pennsylvania law professor believes the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), passed in 1993, gives the green light to discriminate today.

Marci Hamilton teaches constitutional law at the University of Pennsylvania and has her own website called “RFRA Perils.” CBS Sunday Morning interviewed Hamilton about the religious freedom law.

“It’s really hard to explain what was happening,” Hamilton said in the CBS report. “Basically, the civil rights groups dropped the ball. Everybody was just so excited about religious freedom – how could you be opposed to religious freedom? But the very smart, very conservative evangelical groups knew what their agenda was.”

The Media Research Center’s NewsBusters website called the CBS report a “slanted hit piece against religious freedom laws.”

What is the goal of RFRA?

When President Bill Clinton signed it into law, he said, “The free exercise of religion has been called the first freedom, that which originally sparked the development of the full range of the Bill of Rights.”

“What this law basically says is that the government should be held to a very high level of proof before it interferes with someone’s free exercise of religion,” he continued. “This judgment is shared by the people of the United States as well as by the Congress. We believe strongly that we can never, we can never be too vigilant in this work.”

RFRA bans the government from unjustly meddling in the way Americans express religious beliefs. The law provides “a claim or defense to persons whose religious exercise is substantially burdened by government.”

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