42 USC CHAPTER 21B – RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION
42 USC § 2000BB – CONGRESSIONAL FINDINGS AND DECLARATION OF PURPOSES
The Congress finds that—
(1) the framers of the Constitution, recognizing free exercise of religion as an unalienable right, secured its protection in the First Amendment to the Constitution;
(2) laws “neutral” toward religion may burden religious exercise as surely as laws intended to interfere with religious exercise;
(3) governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification;
(4) in Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990) the Supreme Court virtually eliminated the requirement that the government justify burdens on religious exercise imposed by laws neutral toward religion; and
(5)the compelling interest test as set forth in prior Federal court rulings is a workable test for striking sensible balances between religious liberty and competing prior governmental interests.
The purposes of this chapter are—
(1) to restore the compelling interest test as set forth in Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963) and Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972) and to guarantee its application in all cases where free exercise of religion is substantially burdened; and
(2) to provide a claim or defense to persons whose religious exercise is substantially burdened by government.
42 USC § 2000BB–1 – FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION PROTECTED
(a) In general
Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.
Government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person—
(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and
(2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
(c) Judicial relief
A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government. Standing to assert a claim or defense under this section shall be governed by the general rules of standing under article III of the Constitution.
42 USC § 2000BB–2 – DEFINITIONS
As used in this chapter—
(1) the term “government” includes a branch, department, agency, instrumentality, and official (or other person acting under color of law) of the United States, or of a covered entity;
(2) the term “covered entity” means the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and each territory and possession of the United States;
(3) the term “demonstrates” means meets the burdens of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion; and
(4) the term “exercise of religion” means religious exercise, as defined in section 2000cc–5 of this title.
42 USC § 2000CC–5 – DEFINITIONS
In this chapter:
The term “claimant” means a person raising a claim or defense under this chapter.
The term “demonstrates” means meets the burdens of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion.
(3) Free Exercise Clause
The term “Free Exercise Clause” means that portion of the first amendment to the Constitution that proscribes laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion.
The term “government”—
(i) a State, county, municipality, or other governmental entity created under the authority of a State;
(ii) any branch, department, agency, instrumentality, or official of an entity listed in clause (i); and
(iii) any other person acting under color of State law; and
(B) for the purposes of sections 2000cc–2(b) and 2000cc–3 of this title, includes the United States, a branch, department, agency, instrumentality, or official of the United States, and any other person acting under color of Federal law.
(5) Land use regulation
The term “land use regulation” means a zoning or landmarking law, or the application of such a law, that limits or restricts a claimant’s use or development of land (including a structure affixed to land), if the claimant has an ownership, leasehold, easement, servitude, or other property interest in the regulated land or a contract or option to acquire such an interest.
(6) Program or activity
The term “program or activity” means all of the operations of any entity as described in paragraph (1) or (2) of section 2000d–4a of this title.
(7) Religious exercise
(A) In general
The term “religious exercise” includes any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.
The use, building, or conversion of real property for the purpose of religious exercise shall be considered to be religious exercise of the person or entity that uses or intends to use the property for that purpose.
42 USC § 2000BB–3 – APPLICABILITY
(a) In general
This chapter applies to all Federal law, and the implementation of that law, whether statutory or otherwise, and whether adopted before or after November 16, 1993.
(b) Rule of construction
Federal statutory law adopted after November 16, 1993, is subject to this chapter unless such law explicitly excludes such application by reference to this chapter.
(c) Religious belief unaffected
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to authorize any government to burden any religious belief.
42 USC § 2000BB–4 – ESTABLISHMENT CLAUSE UNAFFECTED
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to affect, interpret, or in any way address that portion of the First Amendment prohibiting laws respecting the establishment of religion (referred to in this section as the “Establishment Clause”). Granting government funding, benefits, or exemptions, to the extent permissible under the Establishment Clause, shall not constitute a violation of this chapter. As used in this section, the term “granting”, used with respect to government funding, benefits, or exemptions, does not include the denial of government funding, benefits, or exemptions.
Missouri Revised Statute
Religious freedom restoration act.
1.302. 1. A governmental authority may not restrict a person’s free exercise of religion, unless:
(1) The restriction is in the form of a rule of general applicability, and does not discriminate against religion, or among religions; and
(2) The governmental authority demonstrates that application of the restriction to the person is essential to further a compelling governmental interest, and is not unduly restrictive considering the relevant circumstances.
2. As used in this section, “exercise of religion” shall be defined as an act or refusal to act that is substantially motivated by religious belief, whether or not the religious exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.
3. As used in this section “demonstrates” means meets the burden of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion.
(L. 2003 S.B. 12)