Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Original Opponents of Religious Freedom Restoration Act Included Former Klansman and Racial Segregationist

Today's political left, which zealously opposes the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, calling it a "license to discriminate" while at the same time being unable to articulate a single RFRA case in 22 years that has bestowed such a license, should look back at the original RFRA and celebrate those 
Sen. Robert Byrd (D- WV)
Senators who in 1993 were the only members of Congress to otherwise support the RFRA.  Two of the three who voted against the bill should be extremely familiar to politicos.  First, you have Democratic Senator Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia).  Byrd was a leader in the Ku Klux Klan, recruiting 150 people to form a new KKK chapter in West Virginia.  In 1946, Byrd wrote to Senator Theodore G. Bilbo (D-Miss), a segregationist:
I shall never fight in the armed forces with a negro by my side ... Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glor trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.
Sen. Jesse Helms (R-Nc)
In 1946, Byrd penned another letter stating:  "The Klan is needed today as never before, and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia and in every state in the nation."

Then you have Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC).  Helms was a former Democrat and segregationist.   Commenting on the 1963 civil rights protests and the March on Washington Helms stated, "The negro cannot count forever on the kind of restraint that's thus far left him free to clog the streets, disrupt traffic, and interfere with other men's rights."   He later wrote, "Crime rates and irresponsibility among negroes are a fact of life which must be faced".

Justice Antonin Scalia
A more modern day hero of the left should be Justice Antonin Scalia who wrote the 1990 Employment Division v. Smith case that says that disposed of the Sherbert compelling interest test for examining free exercise challenges, the impetus for the RFRA which restores the Sherbert test.  He was joined by another apparent hero of the left, Justice Rehnquist.  The dissent was written by Justice Blackmun, joined by Justices Brennan and Marshall who wanted to keep the Sherbert test that liberals today claim opens the door to religious discrimination.

Below is the roll call vote on the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act vote in the U.S. Senate:

YEAs ---97
Akaka (D-HI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Bennett (R-UT)
Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Bond (R-MO)
Boren (D-OK)
Boxer (D-CA)
Bradley (D-NJ)
Breaux (D-LA)
Brown (R-CO)
Bryan (D-NV)
Bumpers (D-AR)
Burns (R-MT)
Campbell (D-CO)
Chafee (R-RI)
Coats (R-IN)
Cochran (R-MS)
Cohen (R-ME)
Conrad (D-ND)
Coverdell (R-GA)
Craig (R-ID)
D'Amato (R-NY)
Danforth (R-MO)
Daschle (D-SD)
DeConcini (D-AZ)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dole (R-KS)
Domenici (R-NM)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Durenberger (R-MN)
Exon (D-NE)
Faircloth (R-NC)
Feingold (D-WI)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Ford (D-KY)
Glenn (D-OH)
Gorton (R-WA)
Graham (D-FL)
Gramm (R-TX)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Harkin (D-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hatfield (R-OR)
Heflin (D-AL)
Hollings (D-SC)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inouye (D-HI)
Jeffords (R-VT)
Johnston (D-LA)
Kassebaum (R-KS)
Kempthorne (R-ID)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerrey (D-NE)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lott (R-MS)
Lugar (R-IN)
Mack (R-FL)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)

NAYs ---3
Byrd (D-WV)Helms (R-NC)Mathews (D-TN)
Metzenbaum (D-OH)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Mitchell (D-ME)
Moseley-Braun (D-IL)
Moynihan (D-NY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Murray (D-WA)
Nickles (R-OK)
Nunn (D-GA)
Packwood (R-OR)
Pell (D-RI)
Pressler (R-SD)
Pryor (D-AR)
Reid (D-NV)
Riegle (D-MI)
Robb (D-VA)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Roth (R-DE)
Sarbanes (D-MD)
Sasser (D-TN)
Shelby (D-AL)
Simon (D-IL)
Simpson (R-WY)
Smith (R-NH)
Specter (R-PA)
Stevens (R-AK)
Thurmond (R-SC)
Wallop (R-WY)
Warner (R-VA)
Wellstone (D-MN)
Wofford (D-PA)


Pete Boggs said...

Using what they call "logic," Freedom IN is now on record; siding with other bigots like Byrd & Helms.

Anonymous said...

The Common Wisdom that the Democrat Party was and is the champion of civil rights and the hero of marginalized segments of American society is an outright lie. This false narrative is perpetrated by the Democrat party and its Left Liberal Democrat Media Machine and in our schools with its history books intentionally re-written to inculcate that lie in the
brainwashing of American youth.

Thank you for this article, Paul. Thank you for having the courage to present the Truth.

Pete Boggs said...

RFRA was signed into law this morning- thank you Governor Pence.

Anonymous said...

I believe that Barack Obama also voted for the Illinois version of the law when it was enacted in 1998 over the veto of the governor.

In response to the unsupported claims that the law is a license to discriminate, the Governor should emphasize that this is a law written by the ACLU, passed by a Democrat controlled congress, signed by Bill Clinton and approved by Barack Obama, none of whom would have allowed a "license to discriminate" to be enacted. Something has to be done to combat the PR nightmare that this has turned into.