Title: Religious Freedom Restoration Act is Reintroduced in
From: AMER Intelligence
The Official Journal of the Alliance for Magical and Earth
Religions, Volume 1, Number 1.
copyright 1991 by AMER and the respective authors. All rights
reserved. (Permission to reprint has been granted by AMER.)
"The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1991" which is
currently pending before the House Committee on the Judiciary is
intended to restore the religious rights of all Americans which
were taken away by a 1990 Supreme Court decision (Oregon v.
This case concerned two drug counselors who were fired in 1982
because they admitted using peyote during certain ceremonies of
the Native American church. They were also denied unemployment
compensation, and sued to get the denial overturned. The Oregon
State Supreme Court ruled in their favor, but the U.S. Supreme
Court ruled against them.
In the majority opinion, which was written by Justice Scalia, the
court did much more than just address the issue of whether the
use of a controlled substance could be protected by the first
amendment. In effect it nullified many previous court rulings
which had established that religious freedom is a fundamental
right, just as is free speech, and that the state must
demonstrate a compelling state interest before any law of general
applicability could be enacted which would result in a
restriction of religious practices.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1991 (H.R. 2797) is
designed to restore the rights which this decision has taken
away, and has a very broad base of support within the religious
and political community. For example, both the Mormon Church and
the ACLU have joined forces to support this legislation.
This bill is a reintroduction of a bill submitted in 1990 which
died in committee, possibly because of preoccupation with the
Persian Gulf War at the time when the committee hearings where
originally scheduled to take place.
Both Senators Orrin Hatch and Joseph Biden, who are members of
the Senate Judiciary committee, have expressed interest in
reintroducing a Senate version of the bill, but as of yet no such
legislation has been formally submitted.
AMER is indebted to Officer Frank Medina of Wisconsin who was the
first person to bring the original legislation to our attention
back in 1990.
We strongly urge all religious practitioners and civil
libertarians to write to or call their congressional
representative and senators and urge them to support this
It would also be a good idea to write to the chairpersons of both
the House and Senate Judiciary Committees urging them to support
it as well. Otherwise, this very important legislation may never
get out of committee to be voted on in the first place. Their
names and addresses are:
Representative Jack Brooks
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515-2501
Senator Joseph Biden
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510-2502
For a copy of the bill write to your U.S. representative.
AMER urges you to tell all of your friends and acquaintances
about this bill, and stress to them how important it is to all
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