When it passed in 1993, The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was supported left-leaning Democratic lawmakers and liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union. President Clinton, who signed it into law, called the bill one of his greatest accomplishments as President. A decade later they are now opposing religious liberty laws they themselves wrote. What changed in the last decade? Joseph Backholm explains how the value system of liberalism has changed:
While a belief in individual rights used to be the hallmark of liberalism, it has since been replaced by a commitment to amorphous concepts like “equality” and ending “discrimination”. While they never define those terms in a way they could be held accountable for, what is obvious is that their pursuit of those values leaves no room for people to disagree. After all, how can we have a tolerant world if people are allowed to do things that are intolerant?
The new left wants government to officiate all of our interactions to make sure no one “discriminates”.
This explains why, in 1993, Chuck Schumer was the prime sponsor of the RFRA, but in 2013, he is a vocal opponent of efforts that would allow the Catholic Church not to pay for contraception in violation of its beliefs.
It also explains why in 1993, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), co-chaired the lobby committee that helped make RFRA federal law. However, in 2013, they filed a lawsuit against a florist in Washington State because they did not want to provide floral services for a same-sex “wedding”. The ACLU now opposes RFRA language in Washington State specifically because it could allow business owners the freedom to make decisions consistent with their religious beliefs.