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Archive for the ‘RFRA’ Category

What a Card—Texas Edition

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about those “Barefoot Rights” Cards available over at barefooters.org. I discussed Michigan and Arizona, and how the law really doesn’t say what those cards say it is.

Today I want to look at the Texas card.

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What a Card!

Over at barefooters.org, they have a webpage with what they call “Barefoot Rights Cards”, here. There is one for every state and they generally state that those who go barefoot for religious or disability reasons are protected by the law.

But are they accurate?

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Non-RFRA RFRAs

I keep dwelling on Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs) because I think that they could be an effective tool for barefooters to make barefooting more acceptable. If we can go into places where there are even rules against it, and nothing bad happens, then maybe we might change some minds.

But there are also states without RFRAs in which such religious claims can be made.

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Bearing False Witness

I’ve written before about Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. Dut to all the furor regarding Indiana’s new law, and the way Georgian politicians suddenly backed down from theirs, I thought I’d talk about them again, and also clarify just what the furor is about.

In general, as I’ve written before, RFRAs can have a useful function.

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Is It Cheating?

When I wrote about What You Didn’t Know About the Arizona Anti-Gay Bill, I talked about how it was an attempted modification of Arizona’s existing Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), but I also talked about how the RFRAs could be used by barefooters with sincere religious motives.

But is that cheating?

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What with all the press coverage of the Arizona “freedom to discriminate against gays if you are that sort of religious” bill, you might be surprised to hear that it was in reality a fairly minor tweak to already-existing Arizona law. Once the Arizona bill was vetoed, the similar Ohio bill was (at least for now) withdrawn.

The reason the Ohio provisions didn’t intially cause the same flap is because they were hidden in a whole new proposed statute. So while the Ohio bill looked like it could be used by some barefooters, there was more inside it.

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I Am Chortling

While I was at the Ohio Statehouse on Wednesday, tiptoeing through getting a waiver for the day from their shoe rule, the Ohio General Assembly initiated an action that could unintentionally wipe it away.

So I am chortling.

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State RFRAs

The last two days we’ve looked at the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In Part 1 we saw a bit of history, noted how it ended up applying only to the federal government, and how it started out being ineffective. In Part 2 we saw how the Supreme Court put teeth back into it and then we looked at the components of the Act and how they were applied by the courts.

There is one more piece to this. Many states passed their own Religious Freedom Restoration Acts.

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Yesterday, in The Religious Freedom and Restoration Act — Part 1, I looked at the history of the RFRA, and how it was first limited to apply only to the federal government, and then emasculated in the lower courts to the point that only about 15% of the cases claiming an illegal restriction of the free exercise of religion were successful.

But it gets better from there.

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Many barefooters have a spiritual or religious component to their reason for going barefoot. There are many public accommodation laws (both state and federal) that ought to protect them when various businesses try to keep them out with the old NSNSNS excuse, but these laws are actually rather weak.

However, there is one such law, that applies in just a few very specific instances, with a fair bit of teeth in it: the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

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