Tuesday, June 14, 2005

God in the gaps: 1st Amendment, RFRA, and WFRA

The "God of the gaps" parodied by the post title refers to a theological/philosophical idea about "where's God in the process," and relates to discussions I've had with believers- Christian believers of a particular variety common but not universal in the U.S.- about what they call darwinism (a la Mohammedanism).

An article in Slate by Richard Thomas Ford called Take God to Work Day: Why the law shouldn't bend over backward for religious employees, makes some interesting observations and informed me about WFRA, the Workplace Religious Freedom act, a followup to the unconstitutional RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act, see this delightful First Amendment Cyber-Tribune (FACT) page towards the bottom, and also Boerne v. Flores, U.S. 1997) and Cutter v. Wilkinson's take on RLUIPA, the religious land use and institutionalized persons act, see the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty's page.

Is there play in the joints between the requirements of the free exercise clause and the prohibitions of the establishment clause, or contrariwise between the requirements of the establishment clause and the prohibitions of the free exercise clause? See Cutter v. Wilkinson (Becket Fund again) and Davey v. Locke (Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life) (yes). Is there going to be God in there? If WFRA passes, oh yes.

Is it a good thing?

I'll let you know after it passes, if it passes, if it survives judicial scrutiny, and lasts for five years.


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