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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Thursday, June 26, 1997 1:36 PM
>From the URL:
http://www.rutherford.org/press.html

THE RUTHERFORD INSTITUTE SAYS SUPREME COURT DECISION STRIKING DOWN RFRA
BODES ILL FOR RELIGIOUS AMERICANS

Press Contact: Rita Woltz (804) 978-3888

Charlottesville, Va.-- Today's Supreme Court decision striking down the Religious Freedom Restoration Act will leave millions of religious Americans with no legal recourse when their right to religious free expression is violated says a spokesperson for The Rutherford Institute, the nation's leading civil liberties organization specializing in the defense of religious liberty.

"The Supreme Court today has bulldozed the last barrier of protection for religious Americans," said Rita Woltz, legal coordinator for The Rutherford Institute. "After the Supreme Court's reckless decision in Smith whereby it emasculated the Free Exercise clause, Congress created RFRA to protect the fundamental right to religious free expression. But now, that protection has been lifted, and religious Americans will have to turn to their state legislatures or lobby Congress for a Constitutional amendment to protect religious exercise."

In striking down RFRA, the Supreme Court said Congress had overstepped its boundaries and endangered the system of checks and balances that exist within government. The court also reprimanded Congress for changing the meaning of the First Amendment while claiming to affirm it.

The case in question, Boerne v. Flores, involved a church which attempted to expand but was prohibited by the city of Boerne, Texas. The church sued under RFRA. The Rutherford Institute submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court on behalf of the church.

"The original intent of the Constitution and its framers has been almost completely obscured by this decision," said Woltz. "We are now on the verge of true religious apartheid in this country."

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