The “Do No Harm Act”

Well all right – finally there’s a move to make the RFRA not quite such a poisonously theocratic intrusive law. The CFI press release:

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) applauds and supports the introduction of the “Do No Harm Act,” an amendment to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that would prevent its use in situations that involve third-party harm, helping to end the law’s sanctioning of religious discrimination and imposition.

The measure, introduced this morning by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), would amend RFRA by adding language stating that RFRA should not be interpreted to allow the imposition of one’s religious views or practices upon another, to authorize discrimination against others because of one’s religious views, or to sanction any kind of meaningful harm through a legal exemption. In addition, the amendment guarantees that RFRA cannot be used to deny goods or services to beneficiaries served by government contracts and grants.

“Freedom of religion is a fundamental right that protects all Americans, but this freedom does not include the right to restrict or control the behavior of others,” said Nicholas Little, Vice-President and General Counsel for the Center for Inquiry. “At its inception, CFI was one of very few voices cautioning that RFRA would permit religiously motivated discrimination, whether against religious minorities, the non-religious, women, or LGBTQ Americans. Sadly, we were right. But this fix would help ensure that the law could no longer be used as a weapon to impose one person’s religious beliefs on other unwilling parties.”

“We thank Reps. Scott and Kennedy for taking a bold and important step today to protect the religious freedom and equal rights of all Americans,” said Michael De Dora CFI’s director of public policy. “Members of Congress should put aside their partisan differences and approve this fair-minded amendment. We look forward to working with our partners on Capitol Hill, including religious, non-religious, church-state, and civil rights groups, to move this important measure forward.”

One of the things Michael does as director of public policy is lobby Congress. I suspect this bold and important step is not unrelated to that sort of lobbying, also done by Amanda Knief at AA and the people at FFRF and maybe the Humanists and who knows what-all.

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