The Democrats regained the majority in the U.S. House last week after vowing to investigate President Trump.
But the Family Research Council is joining a former member of Congress, Ernest Istook, in warning of another, much-less-publicized, objective: gutting the nation’s protections for religion.
FRC said Democrats want to adopt a provision that would state religious rights are secondary to the abortion, homosexual, gay-marriage and transgender agendas.
“The world that Chai Feldblum envisioned will have finally arrived. Asked what should happen when religious liberty clashed with the LGBT agenda, Obama’s EEOC chief said she’d have ‘a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win,'” FRC wrote.
The organization was echoing Istook’s commentary on 50 more House Democrats cosponsoring a bill “gutting” the 25-year-old Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“That brought the total to 172 House Democrats, a solid majority of their party, who now support H.R. 3222. They are ready to undo RFRA as a prominent part of the agenda as their party takes control of the House,” he said.
He warned that H.R. 3222 would declare that religious freedoms must yield when they run counter to the LGBTQ agenda or to other progressive causes such as abortion rights.
“Pushing this are progressive groups which claim that religious beliefs are just a cover for discrimination, bigotry, and hate.”
President Bill Clinton signed the law in 1993 after near-unanimous approval in Congress, with only three opposing votes. It states no federal law or policy can be allowed to substantially burden anyone’s exercise of religious freedom unless government can prove a compelling interest to justify the interference.
For 25 years, he explained, the law has provided a barrier against laws and policies that force people to violate their faith.
The plans, H.R. 3222 sponsored by Rep. Joseph Kennedy, D-Mass., and S. 2918 by Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., don’t repeal the religious rights bill, because of fears of a backlash.
But the bills, under the ideological “Do No Harm” label, “create a long list of policies and priorities to which RFRA does not apply.”
“In short, an explicit constitutional right would be declared less important than other claims never mentioned in the Constitution and often not even legislated by elected officials,” Istook said.
“This repeal-in-all-but-name of RFRA, according to advocates, also will reverse the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby and Masterpiece Cakeshop decisions. Endorsing groups include the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Human Rights Campaign, Center for American Progress, Lambda Legal, NAACP, NARAL, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Organization of Women, and Planned Parenthood.”
FRC noted that one of the most important religious freedom laws in America turns 25 this Friday.
“But will it make it to 26? House Democrats are doing everything it can to ensure it doesn’t.”
The organization continued: “‘Spend much time in secular progressive circles,’ David French writes, ‘and you’ll quickly encounter the kind of sneering, anti-Christian elitism evident in pieces such as the recent New Yorker creed against Chick-fil-A. But this culture is fundamentally at odds with the lived experience of the Democratic party’s black and Latino base.’ In their beliefs, Pew Research Center warned earlier this year, ‘nonwhite Democrats more closely resemble Republicans than white Democrats.’ That’s significant – not just because it creates tension in the Democratic Party, but, as French points out, ‘to the extent that faith informs politics, it could crack open the progressive coalition.'”
The Democrats have created their own problem, FRC said.
“They’ve had to become hostile to public faith because it acknowledges a moral standard. And when you embrace policies that are antithetical to the stated values of any orthodox religion – like same-sex marriage or abortion – there’s only one way to reconcile it. You get rid of faith – or, at the very least marginalize it.”