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ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU * ACLU NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE * NEWS RELEASE ACLU Strongly Supports Religious Freedom Restoration Act; Urges Congress to Act Quickly to Restore Protections Statement of Nadine Strossen, President, American Civil Liberties Union WASHINGTON, March 4 -- As the President of the American Civil Liberties Union, I am delighted to join this unusually diverse coalition that has come together this morning in support of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. As its name suggests, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is a truly conservative bill, a bill that would restore our Constitution's guarantee of free exercise of religion. This guarantee has proven for more than 200 years to be the boldest and most successful experiment in religious freedom the world has known. Two years ago, however, a wrongly decided case by the United States Supreme Court threatened to derail that experiment and give government much greater authority over religious beliefs and practices than our Founder ever could have imagined. With its decision in Employment Division v. Smith, the Court abandoned the lessons of constitutional history, judicial precedent and its own rules. Today, we urge Congress to undo that damage by quickly passing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act simply and elegantly addresses the problems caused by that Court decision. It would once again mandate our most traditional values -- that no government burden a person's free exercise of religion unless justified by a compelling interest and tailored to do so by the least restrictive means to those religious interests. By adopting this standard, the Act would merely restore what had been the constitutional standard under the First Amendment prior to the Smith decision. Although Congress could never take away a constitutional right, it does have the power to enhance those rights. Today, we call upon the House and Senate to do just that -- to restore to the American people what the Supreme Court has wrongly taken away. --endit-- ============================================================= ACLU Free Reading Room | A publications and information resource of the gopher:// | American Civil Liberties Union National Office | | "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty"


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