Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Is " People For the American Way " Backing Away From the Religious Freedom Restoration Act They Once Supported ?

The People for the American Way last year had an article up called 12 Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics by Peter Montgomery.

Rule Six is  as you can see is  " Government has a right to demand that religious institutions and individuals comply with reasonable regulation and social policy " .

They then go on to give a little history including the fact that they backed  the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which was passed in 1993.  In fact you can look at the statement and testimony of their President at the time in this transcript starting on page 52 where the Reverend Buchanan pushed for the COMPELLING Strict Scrutiny test. I spent some time reading that tonight before by chance I came upon these  new articles .

"Reasonable" does not sound like the compelling interest test , but more like some form of intermediate scrutiny where the government goal must be "important" .In fact the Government goal has to be more than just " legitimate  " or  as some might call it " reasonable" to survive

Strict Scrutiny is when the government's purpose must br vital or "compelling," and the law must be shown to be "necessary" as a means to accomplishing the end. This requires proof that the law is the least restrictive or least discriminatory alternative. If it is not, then it is not "necessary" to accomplish the end. .

Rule Six to reflect what the the People for the American Way  once backed should perhaps read " Religious institutions and individuals have a right to demand of Government to prove their interest is compelling  and there is no alternative than to restrict their religious rights."

That sort of reads different of course , but I think its much more in line with the legislation they lobbied for in the early 90s.

I bring this up because of this article of theirs I just read Circuit Court Rejects Attack on Contraception Coverage.

I am not going to get into the corporate argument that is there since I think I have addressed that a good bit elsewhere. But at the end  they reference another People for the American Way piece written a week by t . See  Circuit Court Rejects Attack on Contraception Coverage  where it was said :

Several months ago, People For the American Way Foundation released 12 Rules For Mixing Religion and Politics, a publication designed to generate conversation on how to create and sustain a civic space reflecting our nation's Constitution and the values of respectful discourse. One of those rules states:

Government has a right to demand that religious institutions and individuals comply with reasonable regulation and social policy.

Just where to draw the line is a question where reasonable people can disagree. The requirement to provide certain health insurance for your employees – not for yourself, but for people you hire in a business you place in the public stream of commerce – seems a reasonable one.

Again that is not the Restoration Act language or  it's three prong test.

So is People for the American Way having second thoughts about legislation they once passed ? If so why and are there other " interest " perhaps at influence. If that is the case then who watches the "watchdogs" .


wormwood said...

Apparently because Maryland and the District of Columbia now have legal same-sex secular marriage, the local Episcopal bishop Mariann Budde feels free to institute/call it gay religious marriage in her diocese [which includes MD and DC]. If she were not - the religious consort of the POTUS - Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church aka TEC, would quickly have her head on a platter. BTW, under TEC's new draconian Disciplinary canons Episcopal clerics no longer have "due process" when accused of any offense.

Lefty-palian clergy who run ahead of their Church and/or the secular Zeitgeist are always cheered as 'prophetic' and heroic by church laity, the chattering classes and the NY Times etc.

As you know, Jefferts Schori (an ex-Catholic) rules the Episcopal Church (TEC) with an iron hand, Conservative bishops and clergy who dare anger her majesty risk being added to her ever-growing list of deposed clerics.
See below for just one example:

The power the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church exercises actually IS what misinformed fundamentalist Protestants suppose Benedict XVI exercises in the Catholic Church. It would be funny ... if it were not so sad.

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