63 Law & Contemp. Probs. 453 (2000)
The Culture of Belief and the Politics of Religion

handle is hein.journals/lcp63 and id is 457 raw text is: THE CULTURE OF BELIEF AND THE
Religion has stood at the center of the American stage during the years of
the Clinton presidency. The Congress passed, and the President signed, the
Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)'-the most dramatic and
extensive piece of legislation addressing freedom of religion issues in our
nation's history.2 In a dramatic upset, the Republican Party took over Congress
in 1994, fueled in large part by the mobilization of Christian conservatives.' The
House of Representatives voted on a prayer-in-the-schools amendment for the
first time in almost thirty years Governments began experimenting with
providing    social  services   through    faith-based    organizations    because    of
dissatisfaction with the success rate of secular-based efforts!           Instances of
school violence that had captured national attention were ascribed by some to
have been caused by the absence of religion from public education.' Religiously
defined hate groups and militias proliferated.7 The most controversial and
Copyright  2000 by William P. Marshall
This comment is also available at http://www.law.duke.edu/journals/63LCPMarshall.
* Professor of Law, University of North Carolina (effective January 2001).
The author would like to thank Melvyn Durchslag and Joan Englund for their helpful comments
on an earlier draft. Research assistance was provided by Lindsey Carr and Brad Winter. The author
served in the Office of the White House Counsel during the Clinton Administration. The opinions
expressed herein, however, are solely those of the author and are not those of the Administration.
1. Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, Pub. L. No. 103-141, 107 Stat. 1488 (codified at 42
U.S.C.  2000bb (1994)). The Supreme Court subsequently invalidated RFRA's application to the
states on federalism grounds. See City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997).
2. The only other legislation that even compares with the protections provided to religion by
RFRA are the provisions of the Civil Rights Acts, which protect individuals from discrimination on
account of religion. Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.  2000 (1994).
3. See David S. Broder, A Historic Republican Triumph: GOP Captures Congress, WASH. POST,
Nov. 9, 1994, at Al.
4. The amendment did not garner the necessary two-thirds majority to pass the House, but it did
capture a numerical majority. See infra text accompanying note 89.
5. See. e.g.. Albert R. Hunt, Faith Based Efforts: The Promise and the Limitations, WALL ST. J.,
Aug. 12, 1999, at A23; Don Lattin, Waging Holy War on Welfare: Unprecedented Partnership Between
Religious Charities, Government To Make Reform Work, S. F. CHRON., Sept. 14, 1998, at Al.
6. Patrick Buchanan, for example, was quoted as saying, You go to Littleton, Colorado, you can
see what happens 30 years after the ACLU had its victory and drove God and the Ten Commandments
and moral instruction out of America's public schools and brought in psychiatrists and counselors.
Anna Cearley, Law Givers: Moses Had Approval, Schools Didn't, SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIB., Nov. 19,
1999, at El.
7. See, e.g., Kevin Sack, Hate Groups in U.S. Are Growing, N.Y. TIMES, Mar. 3, 1998, at A10

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