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Doctor ofShroomology
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Registered: 01/30/04
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Florida's High Court Affirms Religious Freedom
    #3171762 - 09/23/04 07:47 PM (19 years, 9 months ago)

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Florida's High Court Affirms Religious Freedom Entitled to Expanded

By Allie Martin and Jody Brown
September 8, 2004

(AgapePress) - The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that the state's
Religious Freedom Restoration Act expands protection for religious freedom.
The court said religious freedom in the Sunshine State is entitled to
greater protection than that guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.

Earlier this month, the Florida Supreme Court issued an opinion in the case
of Warner v. City of Boca Raton stating that the Florida Religious Freedom
Restoration Act (FRFRA) "expands the scope of religious protection beyond
the conduct considered protected" by cases from the U.S. Supreme Court. "We
also hold that under the Act, any law, even a neutral law of general
applicability, is subject to the strict scrutiny standard where the law
substantially burdens the free exercise of religion," the court stated.

The court explained that a religious belief is substantially burdened if the
government either "compels the religious adherent to engage in conduct that
his religion forbids, or forbids him to engage in conduct that his religion
requires." In addition, the court stated that "a person must only establish
that the government has placed a substantial burden on a practice motivated
by a sincere religious belief."

What that means, according to an example offered by Florida-based Liberty
Counsel, is that a person can have a religious belief in home schooling even
if that approach to education is not an expressly stated doctrine of the
person's church.

Mat Staver, president and general counsel of Liberty Counsel, drafted and
lobbied for the FRFRA in 1998, and had also filed an amicus brief with the
state's high court explaining the legislative intent of the Act. He expects
the ruling to have a major impact on other states.

"This is a great sign for other states that don't have similar religious
freedom laws to pass those laws," the attorney says. "Protecting the free
exercise of religion is one of the first duties of government. The greatness
of government can be measured by its commitment to protecting religious

Staver believes the ruling will send a "green light" to other states to pass
similar laws because it "resoundingly affirm[s] that states can pass
legislation -- and that courts must abide by this additional protection."

According to Liberty Counsel, the high court cited two zoning cases in its
decision -- one which involved a Baptist church that wanted to expand its
Christian school, and another involving a feeding program for homeless
people. The court approved the latter, which acknowledged free exercise
rights, but disapproved of the case involving the Baptist church, which
rejected free exercise rights.

Liberty Counsel litigated -- and lost -- the Baptist church case, but also
won an almost identical zoning claim under FRFRA before the same appeals
court. Staver's firm says now that the Florida Supreme Court has sided with
its arguments that were rejected in the Baptist church decision, it intends
to reopen that case.

We got Nothing!
we're no longer selling jars.  :laugh:

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Registered: 12/18/02
Posts: 6,049
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Re: Florida's High Court Affirms Religious Freedom [Re: MikeOLogical]
    #3171996 - 09/23/04 08:28 PM (19 years, 9 months ago)

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