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Kentucky Religious Freedom Act: FAQs
Don’t we already have religious freedom in Kentucky under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?
Not as much as we did before Oct. 25, 2012, when the Kentucky Supreme Court chose to use a “rational basis” to decide a religious freedom case. This nullified the long held “strict scrutiny” standard for Kentucky courts. When the U.S. Supreme Court chose to use the “rational basis” instead of “strict scrutiny” in a religious freedom case in 1990, Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993, which has been the rule of law for federal courts ever since. It is now up to the General Assembly to act to re-establish this for our state and local courts.
Strict scrutiny - the legal standard for religious freedom cases that requires the government to first prove that it has a “compelling interest” and then once proved to only use the “least restrictive means” to protect that interest.
Rational basis - the legal standard for religious freedom cases that requires the government to only have “a reason” to restrict liberty.
How would the Religious Freedom Act change things?
It would re-establish the “strict scrutiny” standard which effectively puts the burden of proof back on the government. It would once again secure the religious freedoms that Kentuckians have traditionally enjoyed. Legislators all recognize the potential unintended “collateral damage” of statutes. Similarly legislators have the authority and responsibility to guide the judicial system so that its rulings don’t cause collateral damage (in this case infringement of religious freedom). With the Religious Freedom Act, religious liberty in Kentucky will be better preserved.
Will the Religious Freedom Act (the “strict scrutiny” standard) give new freedoms to religious people or groups?
No. The free exercise of religion was established when the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights were written, even before the Kentucky was a state. In 1938, the U.S. Supreme Court established “strict scrutiny” as the standard of legal scrutiny to be used in cases where Constitutional liberties were being threatened. “Strict scrutiny” has proven to be a reliable and effective standard, and has only deviated from on the federal level in the above-mentioned 1990 case where Congress re-asserted it as the nation’s religious liberty plumb line.
For more information, click above on Action Center -> Legislative Policy Papers
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From our Blog:
Press Release: The Family Foundation criticizes JCPS tax hike
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 28, 2012
Contact: Martin Cothran
Phone: (859) 329-1919
Louisville, KY—A family group today in Kentucky criticized the Jefferson County School Board for imposing an additional tax on Jefferson County residents.
“In what has become an annual event, the overseers of Louisville’s public education system continue to believe the myth that increased funding will fix educational problems,” said
August 28, 2012 - 0 Comments
Press Release: The Family Foundation responds: The Administration and tracks have “tortured reasoning”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 13, 2012
Contact: Martin Cothran
Phone: (859) 329-1919
The Family Foundation responds:
The Administration and tracks have “tortured reasoning”
LEXINGTON, KY – The Family Foundation has filed three briefs responding to Beshear Administration agencies and eight Kentucky race tracks that have petitioned the Kentucky Supreme Court to keep The Family Foundation from asking any questions about the Instant
August 13, 2012 - 0 Comments
I am thankful for the Family Foundation and the way that they diligently work to protect Kentucky families. Kent Ostrander and all those who are part of the Family Foundation team labor tirelessly in often hostile environments at the state capitol to hold accountable those who are elected to represent Kentucky families. They are constantly monitoring what is happening in Frankfort in order to keep Kentucky’s citizens who are concerned about families abreast of important issues. Our gratitude goes beyond simply saying thank you; at Bethel Baptist Church we feel so strongly about the work that the Family Foundation performs that we support them monthly in our budget.
Pastor Kenny Davis Jr. -- Bethel Baptist Church, BereaKentucky
“The Family Foundation is doing vital work for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and its families. Defending the integrity of the traditional family, I look to them to lead the way in educating citizens on the pressing issues facing Kentucky families. I heartily endorse their activities and commend their work! “
Pastor Jerry Stephenson.
“As a pastor, the Family Foundation was a key partner to me in the ongoing effort to keep our flock informed of vital public policy issues that could detrimentally impact their lives and the freedom of our church to minister in Kentucky. The information the Family Foundation was always relevant and easy to comprehend. Now, as a denominational servant of over 2,400 churches in the Commonwealth, I count on the Family Foundation as a co-laborer seeking to strengthen the ministry of Kentucky Baptists. As a father, I simply say to Kent Ostrander and the Family Foundation, ‘Thank you for what you are doing to make Kentucky a better place for my kids. God bless you.’”
Paul Chitwood, Ph.D.--Executive DirectorKentucky Baptist Convention
“Kentucky is fortunate to have The Family Foundation working to protect and preserve the sacred institution of the family. Our future rests upon their success.”
Todd P’PoolHopkins County Attorney
“I cannot imagine where Kentucky would be and what families in the Commonwealth would face were it not for the Family Foundation. They ask for little but accomplish so much. I can only attribute such vast impact to the hand of God on them. The Family Foundation has fought unflinchingly and effectively for Kentucky’s families and has led the effort to maintain a social order and a moral fiber at the heart of public policy. Always involved in the most strategic and important battles and issues affecting families, churches, and individual lives in the state, the Family Foundation fights for us all. We can make no greater investment in our future and in ourselves than to lend our support to an organization that God has commissioned as a guardian and a watchman against the systematic unraveling of the freedoms and liberties that our founders envisioned.”
Dr. Hershael York, Associate Dean, School, TheologyThe Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“The family was the first institution that God established and is still the basic building block of an orderly society. In this era when the family unit is being relentlessly undermined, I’m thankful that Kent Ostrander and the Family Foundation keeps standing strong for traditional family values in the public arena. Their task is not easy, but is so needed! The Family Foundation merits our prayers, encouragement and financial support.”
Bob Russell, Retired Pastor – Southeast Christian ChurchLouisville