Religious freedom legislation puts cities on alert

Monday, September 14, 2009 at 1:20am

The association of Tennessee cities is raising alarms about the potential impact of one of the conservative Christian movement’s signature victories in the last state legislative session: The Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The new law, which the legislature adopted by wide margins, makes it easier to win court challenges against state statutes and local ordinances on grounds that they interfere with religious beliefs, according to the Tennessee Municipal League.

One example: A ruling in July that struck down a Euless, Texas, ordinance that banned the sacrifice of animals within city limits.

"Tennessee state and local governments will now face an uphill battle in upholding laws of general applicability when someone claiming religious offense cries foul," according to an article in the Tennessee Municipal League’s official newspaper.

The article was written by Josh Jones, a legal consultant for the University of Tennessee's Municipal Technical Advisory Service.

Responding to a nationwide campaign by conservative Christians, Tennessee joined 15 other states in passing such laws in the name of protecting religious freedoms. Jones cites cases in other states where the law has resulted in unintended consequences.

Also in Texas, he says, a zoning ordinance barred a halfway house for convicts from locating in a neighborhood, but a judge invalidated the law because a preacher was running the facility.

"If the ability of local governments to regulate dissipates at even the most tenuous claim of religious offense, small sects will be able to hamper rational, safe and publicly beneficial policy,” Jones writes.

Family Action of Tennessee, a James Dobson-affiliated organization, lobbied for passage of the law. Its president, David Fowler, dismisses this criticism of the measure, saying courts can tell when a religious belief is sincere.

“There’s a point at which we have to trust our judges and juries,” Fowler says. “They can decide whether or not there is a better way for the government to achieve its interests without trampling on a person’s religious convictions.”

“Also,” he says of the new law’s critics, “they forget that this is a statute, and any judicial rulings that the legislature thinks go too far can be corrected by a vote of the majority of our legislature. So it’s not by any means a sky-is-falling type proposition that they’d like to lead people to believe.”

The Tennessee Municipal League is considering whether to try to repeal or modify the law in the next legislative session.


7 Comments on this post:

By: Blanketnazi2 on 9/14/09 at 8:17


By: HokeyPokey on 9/14/09 at 3:25

This is a laff-riot.

Another time, many times, another place, many places Fowler would be squealing like a pig over "activist judges:"

By: FreedomJournal on 9/14/09 at 6:54

(20 June 2009 Carl A. Patton)

Editors Note: We are still unable to Post the On-Line FreedomJournal. See our web pages: for updates and our on-going writing and teaching ministry. Also see our Web Pages for contact information.

Greetings Brethren,

In the name of God, Master of the Universe, Ruler of the earth

Peace be unto you. To the Church (as founded by Christ and the Apostles) and believing Christians everywhere. To those that believe in the Bible (the Spirit of God) as the supreme authority that governs all of humankind. In this we give thanks to God the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit that leads and guides us the straightway.

Beloved can anyone really actually deny the Freedom that is rendered to those liberated in Jesus? Just what is Freedom? Freedom is noted as the quality or state of being free. Not being under another’s control. The power to do or say what one pleases; liberty. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of the press. As a Free Press (FreedomJournal Press) we have experienced challenges to our Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press. Our Academic Freedoms were also challenged as early as 1971 thus paving the way for a life-long sojourn as a writer with Freedom on our lips that has been guaranteed in Christ. So what is Free? Can Free or Freedom be really defined in the secular world?

Are the people that are Free in Christ the only people that can understand the true meaning of Freedom? For example one does not know the true love of a woman if both are not saved and have Jesus first in their hearts. Well FreedomJournal are you saying one can only know love especially the love of a woman only when they accept Christ as the way to the Father? Therefore a Godly man can only truly love a Godly woman and vice versa. So if Freedom can only be adequately defined and explained in the Spiritual realm can one ever persecute the righteous who know God and are Free?

Meanwhile Freedom to those that believe (those that know God and Christ) is something that exists above any actions of man. Therefore can this Freedom be persecuted? Are the attempts to deny Freedom of Christianity/Freedom of Religion persecution of those that believe? But can the lost deny Freedom that comes from God?

By: FreedomJournal on 9/14/09 at 6:56

(Carl A. Patton, 17 June 2009)

Editors Note: We are still unable to Post the On-Line FreedomJournal. See our web pages: for updates and our on-going writing and teaching ministry.

Greetings Brethren,

Peace be unto you. To the Church and believing Christians everywhere. To those that believe in the Bible as the supreme authority that governs all of humankind. In this we give thanks to God the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit that leads and guides us the straightway.

As the Spirit of God count the days we liveth we give thanks. As the Book is recorded with every deed every confession and non confession of the saints and the lost we pray. Many challenges to our God given right to live in peace and harmony with other human beings is forever here a reality. Thus we are grateful, for the Heavens declare the glory of God and His creation and in all He made we give thanks. For without the green of the field, the wild and tame of the forest and the wet of the rivers, creeks, Native American Springs, lakes, seas and oceans we would be forever lonely and without a friend.

Religion never saw a style or a time period. But what is religion? Do many people only believe that the religion they embrace is the one and only? Are there many roads to Heaven? Religion is the service and worship of God or the supernatural. It is also a devotion to a religious faith. Thus it is a belief in God or gods. Hence it is a system of religious beliefs. Meanwhile a religious person is one that is devoted to the divine he is thus fervent and zealous.

But religion is not defined as a particular religion. Therefore is Freedom of Religion the Freedom to worship any kind of religion that you choose to worship? We come embracing Christianity as it is one of the “Three Great Religions.” Judaism, Christianity and Islam in order of their origin all believe in the One God concept. However there is a transition from the first to the second as noted in the Bible. However we also as the Spirit guides us see a merger of the third religion with the one in the middle as Jesus Christ is the Savior of all of humankind.

By: FreedomJournal on 9/14/09 at 6:57


Beloved Brethren I can see the first people that walked
and crawled the earth free in Jesus. Yes free to roam
and plant crops upon the land and fish in the waters of
the streams that came to nourish the land. Although some
were chosen to carry a message none were left out as we
see the Patriarchs and Jews and Gentiles.

Although the heathen gods sulked upon the land and idols
reeked black smoke as their altar fires died in the air the
religion of God Almighty the Father reigned supreme.
Eventually the days passed to the New Testament times
and the times of Jesus and the Gospels. However it still was
not new as this was the same religion that had been passed,

Down by the Great Prophets Jews and Gentiles to the saints of
God and eventually the door was widely opened with the
ascension of our Savior for all of humankind as the Gentiles
embraced Jews and Gentiles embraced Jews as all humankind
man and woman, boy and girl could now be saved based on the
blood of Jesus directed and guided by the Holy Spirit sent
back as our company keeper when He went back to the Father.

Looking back I can see John and the words of the righteous spell-binding
“Precious Lord Take My Hand,” comes to mind. The people have thus
fled oppression from Egypt, kidnapped from “The Land of the Blacks,”
as a Holocaust Black and White has come and went and to some
summer, fall, winter and spring will never end. Many songs were sung
in the hearts of the oppressed especially those that knew God.

But the world as the Book has warned with a fore meaning has come
to the head table. The wretched of the earth are still despised. As the poor
are left out the rich and poor forsake the commandments as the world of
beggars, paupers and land barons the executives of paradise lost and
gained die in infamous immorality as the wicked seek counsel with Fools
who frown and spit on Truth and God’s people.

However we testify again more than once that it is written that there
would be flesh and blood along the way to Peace and Paradise. The
strong will survive as there is strength in prayer. There is also a consolation
in the “Last and Final Day” and the Glorious Home-Going of the saints.
What do we have to look forward to? Beloved once more I see and feel
the breath and heart of the Wind.

This is the master of the universe the ruler of the earth. In this there
is an earthly reward while we look in the telescope toward our
future as the confirmed destiny of the all the earth is realized as
good in those that truly accept the Gospel. The hate burned not my heart
as I was able to bear witness to our prayer for our enemies and those
that stood as blessing missionaries in unconscious slander.

We thus will forever pray for the Peace of God.
We cherish the salute of Jesus our Savior, Peace be unto you.
Thus we pray with an everlasting testimony of love that
is a part of our every existence as we liveth. Hallelujah, Glory to God.

Peace and Golden Paradise, Carl A. Patton a willing slave and servant of Almighty God and Christ Jesus writing for the FreedomJournal Press a God Fearing Free Press 17 June 2009 in the year of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus.

By: HokeyPokey on 9/15/09 at 7:12

Get me Jesus...
... on the line.

Hello Jesus?
Please do save me!
from believers...
...they just whine.

By: house_of_pain on 9/16/09 at 5:29

Is Mr. Patton posting from a mental institution?