Let’s begin with a simple multiple choice question.
The “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” that just became law in Indiana was inspired by similar legislation passed by which of the following duos?
A) The KKK and Ronald Reagan
B) Sarah Palin and George W. Bush
C) Ted Cruz and Dick Cheney
D) Strom Thurmond and Robert Byrd
E) Chuck Schumer and Bill Clinton
The answer, which will likely shock and then be ignored by most of our low-information media, is “E.”
The original RFRA was passed 20 years ago with overwhelming support by a Democratic-majority Congress, then signed into law by yet another Democrat, President Clinton. During a bi-partisan signing ceremony, Mr. Clinton said the following:
“We all have a shared desire here to protect perhaps the most precious of all American liberties — religious freedom. Usually the signing of legislation by a president is a ministerial act, often a quiet ending to a turbulent legislative process. Today this event assumes a more majestic quality because of our ability together to affirm the historic role that people of faith have played in the history of this country, and the constitutional protections those who profess and express their faith have always demanded and cherished. The free exercise of religion has been called the first freedom, that which originally sparked the development of the full range of the Bill of Rights.
“Our Founders cared a lot about religion. And one of the reasons they worked so hard to get the First Amendment into the Bill of Rights, at the head of the class, is that they well understood what could happen to this country, how both religion and government could be perverted if there were not some space created and some protection provided. We are, after all, the oldest democracy now in history and probably the most truly multiethnic society on the face of the Earth. And I am convinced that neither one of those things would be true today had it not been for the importance of the First Amendment. And the fact that we have kept faith with it for 200 years.”