Sorry this is late.
The bill I mentioned in my previous post, the so-called “Public Expression of Religion Act”, was passed by the US House on Tuesday and now moves to the Senate as S.3696 and it has a new title to further mask its true intention. It is now called Veterans’ Memorials, Boy Scouts, Public Seals, and Other Public Expressions of Religion Protection Act of 2006.
It is now to be used to “protect” crosses at Veterans’ Memorials and on local government seals as well has give the Boy Scouts an exemption from federal rules against discrimination when they get aid and comfort from federal agencies.
To show you the contempt religious and political conservatives have for real religious liberty, all one has to do is read the introduction to the bill as introduced in the Senate:
To amend the Revised Statutes of the United States to prevent the use of the legal system in a manner that extorts money from State and local governments, and the Federal Government, and inhibits such governments’ constitutional actions under the first, tenth, and fourteenth amendments.
First of all the bill claims that legal fees in church and state cases is extortion since it aims to prohibit the awarding of ANY fees. That is something that needs to be asked and decided in a court of law – not the floor of Congress.
2nd it claims that the government’s actions are constitutional – something that has to be decided in a court. That is the reason a lawsuit is brought in the first place.
Basically the law gives legal cover to illegal activities. Why else would they include that view in the introduction to the bill?
A slippery slope can be made that if asking for attorney fees in religious expression cases is extortion then who’s to refute that attorney fees in racial discrimination cases, for example, isn’t. S.3696 opens a Pandora’s box to such claims in the future.
The bill is also unfair in that exempts the Boy Scouts, and no other group, from federal discrimination laws. BSA has been deemed a private religious group that is allowed to discriminate in membership. Since it is a private religious group, the government is limited in the support it can give it. BSA brought this action on themselves by winning several cases where the courts ruled they are a private religious group – an argument BSA forwarded themselves – now they want Congress to give them a free pass so they can continue to get federal funding and donations.
The Veterans’ Memorials, Boy Scouts, Public Seals, and Other Public Expressions of Religion Protection Act of 2006 doesn’t protect religious liberty. It is yet another attempt to provide special protection to Christianity. It addresses a “problem” that doesn’t exist and attempts to give special status to a private religious group.
Again, if you support real religious liberty, I urge you to contact your Senators and ask them to vote NO on this bill.