Stuck in committee and never heard from again. http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c108:H.R.1547.IH: 108th CONGRESS 1st Session H. R. 1547 To restore first amendment protections of religion and religious speech. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES April 1, 2003 Mr. PAUL introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A BILL To restore first amendment protections of religion and religious speech. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the `Religious Freedom Restoration Act'. SEC. 2. FINDINGS. Congress finds the following: (1) The freedom to practice religion and to express religious thought is acknowledged to be one of the fundamental and unalienable rights belonging to all individuals. (2) The Framers of the Constitution deliberately withheld, in the main body of that document, any authority for the Federal Government to meddle with the religious affairs or with the free speech of the people. Then, as further and more specific protection for the people, they added the first amendment, which includes the `establishment clause' and the `freedom of speech clause' which are as follows: `Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech . . .'. It is of utmost importance to note that the first amendment is not a grant of authority to the Federal Government. To the contrary, it is a specific restriction upon the exercise of power by the Federal Government. (3) For over 150 years, the Court held to this historically correct position in interpreting the first amendment. During this period, scant mention was made to `The Separation of Church and State'. (4) Then, beginning in 1947, and accelerating through the 60's, the Court abruptly reversed its position. This was done with no change in the law, either by statute or by amendment to the Constitution. The Court invented the distorted meaning of the first amendment utilizing the separation of `church and state' in 1947 in Everson v. Board of Education when it announced: The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach. (Everson v. Board of Education; 330 U.S. 1, 18 ). Over the past five decades, rulings of the United States Supreme Court have served to infringe upon the rights of Americans to enjoy freedom of speech relating to religious matters. Such infringements include the outlawing of prayer in schools and of the display of the Ten Commandments in public places. These rulings have not reflected a neutrality toward religious denominations but a hostility toward religious thought. They have served to undermine the foundation of not only our moral code but our system of law and justice. (5) In making this abrupt change, the Court ignored all historical precedent established previously by the Court, the wording of the First Amendment, and the intent of its framers. The rulings are legally irrational and without foundation. Although the Court presumed to rely upon the First Amendment for its authority for these rulings, a review of that Amendment reveals that said rulings could not possibly have been based upon its original intent. Consequently, it is incumbent upon this Congress to review not only the rulings of the Court which are in question but the wording and history of the First Amendment to determine the intent of its framers. This abrupt change is found in the following court cases: (A) `A verbal prayer offered in a school is unconstitutional, even if that prayer is both voluntary and denominationally neutral.' (Engel v. Vitale, 1962, Abington v. Schempp, 1963, Commissioner of Education v. School Committee of Leyden, 1971.) (B) `Freedoms of speech and press are guaranteed to students and teachers unless the topic is religious, at which time such speech becomes unconstitutional.' (Stein v. Oshinsky, 1965, Collins v. Chandler Unified School District, 1981, Bishop v. Aronov, 1991, Duran v. Nitsche, 1991.) (C) `It is unconstitutional for students to see the Ten Commandments since they might read, meditate upon, respect, or obey them.' (Stone v. Graham, 1980, Ring v. Grand Forks Public School District, 1980, Lanner v. Wimmer, 1981.) (D) `If a student prays over his lunch, it is unconstitutional for him to pray aloud.' (Reed v. Van Hoven, 1965.) (E) `The Ten Commandments, despite the fact that they are the basis of civil law and are depicted in engraved stone in the United States Supreme Court, may not be displayed at a public courthouse.' (Harvey v. Cobb County, 1993.) (F) `When a student addresses an assembly of his peers, he effectively becomes a government representative; it is therefore unconstitutional for that student to engage in prayer.' (Harris v. Joint School District, 1994.) (G) By interpreting the establishment clause to preclude prayer and other religious speech in any public place, the Supreme Court necessarily violates the free speech clause of the very same first amendment.