The Pitfalls of Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs)

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The Pitfalls of Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs)

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. Long-time sponsor of RFRAs and sympathetic to polygamist groups in the state

As many states including Utah seek to introduce RFRAs, Sound Choices Coalition is keenly aware of the potential pitfalls that these acts present. Only recently, a judge upheld the refusal of an FLDS member to supply vital information in a child labor case. This ruling was based on protecting the man’s “deeply held religious convictions.” These “religious convictions” apparently prevented him from disclosing any detail of the workings of the FLDS cult pertinent to its illegal use of children taken out of school as an unpaid labor force in a commercial enterprise.

The attached article by Andrea Moore Emmmet, author of “God’s Brothel,” was written in 2007, but the points it makes are highly relevant to today. In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a bill similar to those now being introduced. The court’s ruling then was, “Any society adopting such a system would be courting anarchy, but that danger increases in direct proportion to the society’s diversity of religious beliefs.”

In Utah, new RFRAs may enable any religious group to place its religious beliefs above existing laws. This could include anything from the underage sexual relations of polygamous groups to other kinds of child abuse including harsh corporal punishment, medical neglect, or failure to educate.

We support religious freedom, but not when it permits individuals or groups to ignore established law.

For more, read “Blowing Holy Smoke” at http://www.cityweekly.net/utah/blowing-holy-smoke/Content?oid=2129186

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. Long-time sponsor of RFRAs and sympathetic to polygamist groups in the state

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. Long-time sponsor of RFRAs and sympathetic to polygamist groups in the state

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