Indiana Protects Religious Liberty, Then Throws it All Away

Photo Credit: Daily Signal

Photo Credit: Daily Signal

[Editor’s note: For an update on this story, please view the Heritage Foundation’s Dr. Ryan Anderson’s interview below. Dr. Anderson maintains that yesterday’s amendment to Indiana’s new Religious Liberty law guts the intent of the law, making gay rights superior to religious rights]

In a victory for religious freedom, earlier today Gov. Mike Pence, R-Ind., signed into law the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This is good policy that protects the fundamental freedom of Indiana citizens from unnecessary and unreasonable government coercion.

The Indiana law is based on the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act—a law that has served the American people well for more than 20 years. Passed with 97 votes in the Senate and by unanimous voice vote in the House, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. This federal law prohibits substantial government burdens on religious exercise unless the government can show a compelling interest in burdening religious liberty and does so through the least restrictive means.

[Listen to Dr. Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation discuss the left’s assault on religious freedom in America]

These protections for religious freedom, like the one passed in Indiana, provide a commonsense way to balance the fundamental right to religious liberty with compelling government interests. The federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects against federal government violations of religious liberty, and state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts protect against state violations.

By passing its Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Indiana joins the 19 other states that have implemented such laws. Eleven additional states have religious liberty protections that state courts have interpreted to provide a similar level of protection. These commonsense laws place the onus on the government to justify its actions in burdening the free exercise of religion . . .

The Indiana law, like all state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, prevents government discrimination against religious free exercise. Religious Freedom Restoration Acts simply provide a way to balance religious liberty with compelling government interests. (Read more from “Indiana Protects Religious Liberty, Here’s Why That’s Good Policy” HERE)

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