Evangelical Christians and Catholics are reportedly becoming increasingly dependent on federal courts when it comes to protection of their religious freedom and to fight back against government mandates that force them to violate their religious beliefs.
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that states block funding for churches' secular activities on the basis of their religious classification. However, there have been concerns on whether the court's interpretation of the law is ambiguous, The Washington Times detailed.
For conservative Christian organizations fighting for religious freedom, the believers who faithfully follow Biblical teachings are the ones who are at risk of being discriminated against.
"The fact of available legal advocates make it much easier for people who feel they have been wronged to bring challenges," said George Washington University law professor Robert Tuttle.
Most of those involved in the public debate focus on the balance between free exercise of religion and the separation of church and state. Analysts, on the other hand, say that the legal debate concerns the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act of 1993 which requires the federal government to consider the religious beliefs of a person.
In 2014, the court ruled 5-4 in favor of Christian-owned business Hobby Lobby in its challenge against the Obama administration's controversial birth control mandate. The court said there must be an accommodation for family-owned corporations' religious objections to shouldering payment for their employees' contraception.
Meanwhile in Texas, the newly signed House Bill 3859 has sparked fears that foster parents and organizations could block same-sex or non-Christian parents from fostering or adopting children. The said law, which takes effect on Sept. 1, shields child welfare providers from legal action if they make a decision based on "sincerely held religious beliefs," the Texas Observer reported.
In an open letter to lawmakers, nine Texas law professors expressed their fears that HB 3859 would only create constitutional problems in its bid to guard religious freedom. Civil rights groups including the ACLU and Human Rights Campaign said the new law violates the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, which prohibits state-sponsored religion.