State RFRA Conf - reply to Marci
lgs at WORLD.STD.COM
Wed Oct 21 20:06:39 PDT 1998
I confess that this seems a little too pat. Perhaps my doubt stems from
the compound thought that (a) the constitutionality of state RFRAs is not
"some marginally related, secondary issue;" and (b) assessing the impact of
this legislation without asking whether it is unconstitutional in whole or
part is a strangely abstract endeavor.
At 05:30 PM 10/21/98 -0400, you wrote:
> I think perhaps that Marci Hamilton misunderstands the central
>focus of the Georgetown state RFRA conference. It is not meant to be a
>debate regarding the "goodness" or "badness" of state RFRAs. Rather, it
>accepts the fact that state RFRAs are with us, presently in a few states and
>probably more in the years to come, and it will attempt to assess the impact
>and effect of these statutes. If our intent were to debate the merits or
>worth of such statutes, we would have chosen different presenters.
> As things stand, while the majority of the presenters are in favor
>RFRAs, not all are. But once again, because the issue is impact and not
>merit, I think the balance is justified. If we had chosen a more
>contentious list in regards to the worth of RFRAs, the conference may have
>lost its focus. When a discussion is polarized as to some marginally
>related, secondary issue, there is often a tendency to stake out more
>extreme positions on the main issue than one would adhere to under more
>reflective conditions. While such encounters may make for lively debate and
>good theater, the long term use and impact of the resultant product may be
> A conference that debates the merits of state RFRAs has its own
>certainly. It is just a different kind of conference than the Council on
>Religious Freedom is sponsoring.
> Nicholas P. Miller, Esq.
> Executive Director
> Council on Religious Freedom
> (301) 294-8766
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