In 1997, the Supreme Court struck down the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed in 1993 by Congress. The Court had essentially given state and local governments the authority to write laws that ”could require people to do things against their religious precepts — forcing them to choose between God and government.” RFRA was a bipartisan construct drafted by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Ma) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Ut), it sailed through Congress in 1993 to protect religion against government overreach.
The Hobby Lobby decision is a complete one-eighty from Scalia’s 1989 Oregon Division of Employment vs. Smith decision, which helped inspire RFRA. Scalia and his Republican colleagues went the other way on this one (Hobby Lobby) by standing behind an act (RFRA) passed in the first days of the Clinton administration that was a thinly veiled effort to overrule Scalia’s holding in the peyote case, which Congress of course cannot do.
Several decades ago, Scalia asserted RFRA was superfluous because there’s “no evidence of widespread religious discrimination in this country.” Now, because it is a matter he holds near and dear because of his own Catholic faith, he feels it is acceptable to discriminate against a female employee’s rights to medical services. So now is there evidence of widespread religious discrimination in this country? With the protests against the Mosque in proximity to Ground Zero of the WTC tragedy, it seems there is discrimination, but it isn’t against Christians.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former GOP Presidential contender Rick Santorum are constantly ranting about the lack of Christianity in a government founded on the principle of separation of church and state. Mike Huckabee, in his 2008 Presidential run asserted
“our laws should be in accordance with God’s.”
The problem is, Mr. Huckabee doesn’t specify whose god he’s referring to in this nation of diverse religious beliefs (and non-believers). This September, Rick Santorum will release One Generation Away: The Erosion of Religious Liberty. The movie is a “call to arms” for America’s Christians who are allegedly being persecuted by liberals launching a war on religious leaders, and it actually compares the Left to Nazi Germany.
With the assistance of Justice Scalia and his conservative cohorts on the High Court, more legislation will assuredly be created in favor of the Court-approved religion. With the Smith decision, Native American religious customs were certainly not afforded the same consideration as Hobby Lobby was on the last day of June, 2014. Christianity apparently needs constant defense and this won’t be the last time the Court decides separation of church and state does not apply to Christian matters.