Religious Liberty Protection

May 9, 2000

The U.S. Senate may vote this month on a bill that would provide needed protection for religious liberty. It is called the Religious Liberty Protection Act. It passed the House last summer and has been sitting in the Senate ever since.

Back in July I did a radio commentary on why we need this bill. Three years ago in June 1997, the Supreme Court stuck down the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That bill was passed years before to deal with the Court's ruling in a case out of Oregon.

In the last three years, various cases have surfaced that point to the need for passage of the Religious Liberty Protection Act. In South Carolina, home Bible studies were found be in violation of local zoning ordinances while other meetings (such as Tupperware parties) were unaffected. In Pennsylvania, 20 Christian day-care centers were required to change their curricula and hiring practices or face termination. In California, death row inmates were prohibited from taking their Bibles to Bible studies.

Two cases out of Oregon also concern many pastors and Christian leaders. Bureaucrats in Portland, Oregon have restricted one church's attendance to a maximum of 70 people and even prevented them from serving meals to the poor. Bureaucrats in Jacksonville, Oregon placed strict limits on one church's operating hours (including a total ban on Saturday services).

The Religious Liberty Protection Act would require government to have a compelling reason before it can restrict religious practices. These abuses surfaced after the Supreme Court's original ruling and have surfaced again after the court struck down the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That is why we need to call the U.S. Senate and get action on this bill to protect religious liberty in this country.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.