State RFRA and nonreligious groups that haveconscientiousobjections to antidiscrimination laws

Volokh, Eugene VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu
Wed Mar 1 15:25:20 PST 2006


	I'm trying to get at a couple of different questions.  All arise
in the context of subsidies that are generally available to a broad
range of people or organizations who satisfy certain relatively
objective criteria (e.g., unemployment compensation, tax exemptions,
student organization funds, access to classrooms after hours, and the
like):

	1.  Are religious objectors entitled to an exemption from
subsidy conditions, so that they get the subsidy even if they don't (for
religious reasons) comply with the condition?

	2a.  Can groups such as the Boy Scouts claim similar religious
exemptions even if their members and officers come from many
denominations, yet share a few basic religious principles (e.g., some
degree of religiosity, and a belief in the impropriety of
homosexuality)?

	2b.  Can groups claim similar exemptions even if their beliefs
are cast as deeply held conscientious belief, rather than religious
belief?

	I'd love to hear what people say in response,

	Eugene

> -----Original Message-----
> From: religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu 
> [mailto:religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of Alan 
> Brownstein
> Sent: Wednesday, March 01, 2006 3:19 PM
> To: Law & Religion issues for Law Academics
> Subject: RE: State RFRA and nonreligious groups that 
> haveconscientiousobjections to antidiscrimination laws
> 
> 
> Sorry to be so late responding to your post, Eugene. But I 
> wonder if you could clarify the focus of your issue. Are you 
> asking whether religiously motivated conduct can ever be 
> taken into account when a state decides whether or not it 
> will subsidize an organization or an activity? (That is, the 
> state can only take religiously motivated activity into 
> account in awarding subsidies if doing so satisfies strict 
> scrutiny review.) Or are you asking a narrower question that 
> only applies to the more limited set of benefits that arise 
> in free speech cases (access to government property, access 
> to fundraising drives, access to schools,
> etc.) 
> 
> Alan Brownstein
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu
> [mailto:religionlaw-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of 
> Volokh, Eugene
> Sent: Monday, February 27, 2006 4:27 PM
> To: Law & Religion issues for Law Academics
> Subject: State RFRA and nonreligious groups that have 
> conscientiousobjections to antidiscrimination laws
> 
> 	Say that a state has a RFRA that's written much like 
> the federal RFRA.  And say that a state or local government 
> body decides to exclude all groups that discriminate based on 
> race, sex, etc. in selecting officers, speakers, or members 
> from various benefit programs (access to government property, 
> access to fundraising drives, access to schools, etc.).
> 
> 	1.  The Catholic Church is excluded from the benefit 
> because it discriminates based on sex in selecting priests.  
> It raises a RFRA objection to the exclusion, arguing that it 
> has a sincere religious belief that only men may be priests.  
> What should the result be?
> 
> 	2.  The Boy Scouts are excluded from the benefit 
> because it discriminates based on sexual orientation in 
> selecting scoutmasters and members.  It raises a RFRA 
> objection to the exclusion, arguing that it has a deeply felt 
> conscientious belief that it would be wrong for them to put 
> homosexuals in role modeling positions, or that it would be 
> wrong for them to put young boys in positions where there is 
> especially likely to be erotic attraction between them (as 
> there is if some of the members are known to be homosexual).  
> This is a belief based on our religious traditions, the Scout 
> leadership says; and in any event, even if that's not 
> religious enough (since we belong to so many different 
> religious traditions), it's based on deeply held 
> conscientious beliefs, see Seeger and Welsh.  What should the 
> result be?
> 
> 	Eugene
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