FFRF has been busy recently advancing the secular cause in the nation’s capital.
The state/church watchdog has submitted a letter commending a House Labor and Education Committee hearing on the misapplication of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Such letters for the record are important because they help committees in their investigative roles. They also enable them to hear from more diverse groups in society than are allowed to testify in person.
FFRF’s letter takes the perspective that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act is not needed to secure any American’s religious freedom. However, FFRF backs the Do No Harm Act, which aims to curb the abuses of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and which was highlighted in the hearing. Ultimately, FFRF supports the repeal of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“The First Amendment and the U.S. Constitution already protect the free exercise of religion,” states the letter. “So why do we need the Religious Freedom Restoration Act? Why do we need a law to protect that which is already so well protected under the Constitution? We don’t.”
FFRF representatives, including FFRF Director of Governmental Affairs Mark Dann, also met with the Office of Management and Budget over the issue of discrimination based on religion. They reviewed the Department of Labor’s proposed role based on an Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program directive to allow federal contractors to pick favorites based on religion.
FFRF believes that the proposed rule is unconstitutional and grossly misinterprets the Hobby Lobby, Masterpiece Cakeshop and Trinity Lutheran cases. Should the OMB let the rule proceed, it is liable to be challenged in court and could be overturned. FFRF and other secular organizations are attempting to convince the office of this eventuality.
The OMB — basically the traffic cop for the regulatory process — reviews government agency rules to make sure they are legal and compliant with federal law. The Department of Labor has submitted the proposed religious exemption rule for contractors to the office.