Universal Life Church Case Law
Phone: (614) 715-9048 Fax: (614) 715-9049
Email: info@ulccaselaw.com
ULC Case Law
1629 K Street NW, Ste 300
Washington, D.C. 20006

Religious Freedom Restoration Act

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (42 U.S.C. § 2000bb) is also known under the shortened name RFRA. Signed into United States federal law in 1993, this act aims to prevent the creation and implementation of any law(s) that places any substantial burden on a person’s free exercize rights of practicing their religion. The RFRA reinstates the Sherbert Test which was created through two cases: Sherbert v Verner and Wisconsin v Yoder, both of which mandate that strict scrutiny be used when determining if the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution – which guarantees religious freedom – has been violated.

Congress stated through its findings that “a religiously neutral law can burden a religion just as much as one that was intended to interfere with religion.” The RFRA states that that the “Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.” The law provides an exception if two conditions are both met. First, if the burden is necessary for the “furtherance of a compelling government interest.” Under strict scrutiny, a government interest is compelling when it is more than routine and does more than simply improve government efficiency. A compelling interest relates directly with core constitutional issues. The second condition is that the rule must be the least restrictive way in which to further the government interest.

Title 42, Chapter 21B, § 2000bb. Congressional findings and declaration of purposes

(a) Findings

The Congress finds that–

(1) the framers of the Constitution, recognizing free exercise of religion as an unalienable right, secured its protection in the First Amendment to the Constitution;
(2) laws “neutral” toward religion may burden religious exercise as surely as laws intended to interfere with religious exercise;
(3) governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification;
(4) in Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990) the Supreme Court virtually eliminated the requirement that the government justify burdens on religious exercise imposed by laws neutral toward religion; and
(5) the compelling interest test as set forth in prior Federal court rulings is a workable test for striking sensible balances between religious liberty and competing prior governmental interests.

(b) Purposes

The purposes of this chapter are–

(1) to restore the compelling interest test as set forth in Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963) and Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972) and to guarantee its application in all cases where free exercise of religion is substantially burdened; and
(2) to provide a claim or defense to persons whose religious exercise is substantially burdened by government.

 

Recent Posts

  • It was recently reported that the Biden Administration was facing a lawsuit over its alleged role in the genocide of Palestinians. Genocide Lawsuit Against Joe Biden Dismissed 02/13/2024

    When the International Court of Justice instructed Israel to avoid any further genocidal acts against Palestinians, the decision came as a surprise to many. Very few people were expecting such a clear response from the ICJ, and it posed numerous implications across the world and the United States. Although the ICJ did not order a Read More

  • Prayer breaks have been in the news recently as more employees are suing to be granted this religious accommodation. Prayer Breaks: Are They Legitimate? 02/07/2024

    Some individuals pray numerous times each day in the United States, and some argue that they should be provided with breaks from work in order to perform these religious duties. This issue is raising a number of religious, legal, and constitutional issues in the nation. How many breaks should religious employees receive each day to Read More

  • Attacks on church properties have risen dramatically in recent years, both around the world and in the U.S. Church properties Face Attacks From Numerous Sources Around the World 01/31/2024

    Church properties often come under attack from a range of different sources. Whether it is a bomb dropped by a plane at over 30,000 feet or a vandal scrawling graffiti on the wall, these attacks represent both psychological and physical blows for worshippers around the world. In some cases, these attacks can be digital in Read More

  • To become a Deacon, you traditionally had to convert to Catholicism, but the Universal Life Church enables you to become one instantly. How to Become a Deacon 01/26/2024

    For many religious individuals, attending church is not enough. They wish instead to become more active members of the church, and they strive to hold official positions within the church’s hierarchy. For Catholics, one potential option is to become a deacon. But what exactly is a deacon, and how do you become one? What is a Deacon? Read More

  • Christianity can be considered an outgrowth of Paganism, and many aspects of the Christian faith still show telltale signs of our pagan roots. Legal Issues Regarding Paganism in the United States 01/17/2024

    Although Paganism has an established history in the United States, the religion has recently experienced a surge in exposure after the January 6th protests. The “QAnon Shaman” famously appeared at the Capitol dressed in a Pagan-inspired outfit with several pagan runes tattooed across his body. Of course, this represents only one example of Paganism in Read More

  • Read More