Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Atlantic Goes For The Facts

There's a lot being said about Indiana's new religious freedom law. The media is talking and Governor Mike Pence is talking and people all over social media are talking. What the truth of how Indiana's new law compares to other laws in other states and more importantly the federal law that Clinton signed in the 90's?

The Atlantic has taken a hard look at these laws and come to some conclusions based on the facts...

There’s a factual dispute about the new Indiana law. It is called a “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” like the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed in 1993.* Thus a number of its defenders have claimed it is really the same law. Here, for example, is the Weekly Standard’s John McCormack: “Is there any difference between Indiana's law and the federal law? Nothing significant.” I am not sure what McCormack was thinking; but even my old employer, The Washington Post, seems to believe that if a law has a similar title as another law, they must be identical. “Indiana is actually soon to be just one of 20 states with a version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA,” the Post’s Hunter Schwarz wrote, linking to this map created by the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

The problem with this statement is that, well, it’s false. That becomes clear when you read and compare those tedious state statutes.  If you do that, you will find that the Indiana statute has two features the federal RFRA—and most state RFRAs—do not. First, the Indiana law explicitly allows any for-profit business to assert a right to “the free exercise of religion.” The federal RFRA doesn’t contain such language, and neither does any of the state RFRAs except South Carolina’s; in fact, Louisiana and Pennsylvania, explicitly exclude for-profit businesses from the protection of their RFRAs. 

And there are more differences. As these debates continue to rage, it's important for us to know the facts. The rest of the article has a lot more to say...

Read the rest of this article HERE

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