Tuesday’s Top Ten Questions on the Mandatory Quiz for Legislators to Ask RFRA Advocates Before Becoming a Sponsor or Casting a Vote

When the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed by Congress, the members never asked the questions that should have been asked. Now RFRA advocates are urging the states to pass similar laws. It’s time for legislators to ask the hard questions in the interest of the public good. Here is a fair quiz that will provide more education on RFRA than the unquestioning assumption that RFRAs are good.

1.         There are over 100,000 religious sects in the U.S. How many of the 100,000 are in this state?

2.         List 2 active religious groups in the U.S. who have permitted children to die of easily treated diseases.

3.         Match the religious group to the cause:

 Alliance Defending Freedom                 **Block access to medical treatment for dying children who could be treated with penicillin
US Conference of Catholic Bishops      **Overturn the constitutional right to contraception
Followers of Christ                                   **Block access to justice for all child sex abuse victims

4.         List three specific criminal laws religious believers should be permitted to break.

5.         Which case(s) at the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the test in RFRA and when?

6.        How many laws for child protection should be watered down by RFRA?

7.         How many statutes are now in effect in your state? How many will the RFRA   undermine?

8.         Does a state law that serves a compelling interest survive a RFRA challenge?

9.         True or False:   The Federal RFRA was enacted twice.

10.       True or False:   The Federal RFRA was passed “unanimously.”

Honest Answers to the Top Ten Questions on the Mandatory RFRA Quiz:

  1. No one knows – a lot more than the mainstream organizations pushing for the RFRA want you to know about.
  2. The Followers of Christ and Church of the Unborn
  3. Alliance Defending Freedom:  Overturn the constitutional right to contraception
    US Conference of Catholic Bishops:  Block access to justice for all child sex abuse victims
    Followers of Christ:  Block access to medical treatment for dying children who could be treated with penicillin
  4. None.
  5. It was rejected in numerous cases, but the most important was Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah, decided 5 months before the first RFRA was passed in 1993. Proving RFRA is not the First Amendment’s standard.
  6. None.
  7. No one really knows. Thousands? Every one where the government could be a party.
  8. Not necessarily. It depends on whether it is also the “least restrictive means” of regulating for this one believer. It depends to a large degree on the imagination of the particular judge.
  1. True. 1993 (applicable to all laws) and 2000 (applicable only to federal law).
  2. False. It was passed via the infamous “unanimous consent” procedure with no quorum and no roll call vote in the House in 1993 and in both the House and Senate in 2000.


Marci Hamilton

Marci A. Hamilton is one of the United States’ leading church/state scholars and is a Fox Family Pavilion Distinguished Scholar in Residence in the Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the Academic Director and President of CHILD USA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to interdisciplinary evidence-based research and tracking of medical, legal, and psychological developments to prevent and deter child abuse and neglect, which she co-leads with Dr. Steven Berkowitz, University of Pennsylvania Medical School, and Dr. Paul Offit, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She holds the Paul R. Verkuil Research Chair at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, through 2018.