Saturday, June 30, 2018

Will President Trump Divest the FDA?







Breaking Up the US FDA…
Will President Trump Divest the FDA?



Join the Health Freedom Newsletter Here: http://drrimatruthreports.com/action/step1/
Natural Remedies Access Act of 2018 Read the Bill Here
Share this Message with this Link http://drrimatruthreports.com/divesting-the-fda/
   
A current rumor on the Internet has it that President Trump wants to abolish or combine various US Federal Agencies to create a leaner, more efficient Federal Bureaucracy. [1]

Suggestions are bantering about Facebook, Minds and Twitter.

We no doubt each have our favorite agency to see “disappeared.”    Certainly, at least the second-most-hated agency is the FDA — the Food and Drug Administration, known to some of its detractors as the Fraud and Death Administration.  It is one of the most convoluted and omnipresent agencies in the bloated organization chart of the Federal Establishment. [2]


It’s been just over a decade since an official government study of the FDA proclaimed:

1) The FDA cannot fulfill its mission because its scientific base has eroded and its scientific organizational structure is weak... . 2) The FDA cannot fulfill its mission because its scientific workforce does not have sufficient capacity and capability... . 3) The FDA cannot fulfill its mission because its information technology (IT) infrastructure is inadequate... . 4) FDA does not have the capacity to ensure the safety of food for the nation... . 5) The development of medical products based on “new science” cannot be adequately regulated by the FDA... . 6) There is insufficient capacity in modeling risk assessment and analysis... . 7) The FDA science agenda lacks a coherent structure and vision, as well as effective coordination and prioritization... . 8) The FDA has substantial recruitment and retention challenges... . 9) The FDA has an inadequate and ineffective program for scientist performance... . 10) The FDA has not taken sufficient advantage of external and internal collaborations... . 11) The FDA lacks the information science capability and information infrastructure to fulfill is regulatory mandate... . 12) The FDA cannot provide the information infrastructure support to regulate products based on new science. [3]

The FDA is a failed agency…

…that, in Dr. Ron Paul’s memorable words, “engages in abuse of power.” He said, in effect, ‘Giving the FDA more power is giving it more power to abuse.’

Even the FDA’s own scientists are complaining about the corruption that pervades the agency — and this is not the first time conscientious scientists have raised these issues. [4]

Then we have the strange case of William W. Thompson, PhD., the whistle-blower in the CDC (an agency that acts in conjunction with the FDA) who exposed the shocking fact that the CDC knew the MMR vaccine was associated with elevated autism rates among especially black boys. [5] 

I believe that due to the (1)  FDA’s focus on the drug industry (80% of its funding comes from Big Pharma “user fees”) and (2)  its failure to protect the safety of the food supply, (3)  while engaging in international “harmonization” that degrades organic standards and allows ever-increasing levels of toxins (including antibiotic residues) in the food supply, the FDA is incapable of administering food regulations. 

The FDA’s prejudice against nutrient supplementation and traditional homeopathic and natural remedies means these advanced healthcare alternative competitors to pharmaceuticals are denigrated, marginalized and regulated against.

What is the answer?

What would, say, a businessman who became President do? 

I suspect it would be to tell FDA to, in the immortal words of John Galt, “Get out of the way.”

We need to engage market forces to stimulate advanced alternatives to a medical system that is now the major source of death in our society, according to a landmark peer-reviewed article by Dr. Gary Null. [6]

We need to divest the FDA of any authority over foods. Maybe then it can focus on the dangers of pharmaceuticals, including the un-insurable risks of mandatory “unavoidably unsafe” vaccination, as it was mandated by law in 1986 to do. Historically both the DEA and EPA were “spun-off” the FDA.

We need to free Foods (including nutrients, and natural and homeopathic remedies) from the deadly hands of the FDA.


Health Freedom Advocates have proposed the Natural Remedies Access Act
 which would protect foods, vitamins, homeopathics and other natural remedies from FDA’s fake science “risk/benefit” analysis which always leads to restricting access. [7] 


Read the Bill here:   http://drrimatruthreports.com/updating-the-fda-attack-on-homeopathy/#Bill

That’s a first step toward deregulating and divesting.

The details? I suppose we’ll have to leave that up to the CEO-in-Chief.

By Ralph Fucetola JD

This article was originally published at the Bolen Report: http://bolenreport.com/breaking-up-the-us-fda/

[1] “Merge the food-safety functions of the USDA, HHS, and FDA into a single agency within the Department of Agriculture.” https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1011087230968868865.html
[2] When I first called for divesting FDA of food authority: http://vitaminlawyerhealthfreedom.blogspot.com/2008/11/divesting-fda-of-food-authority.html
[3] November 2007 Report of the Subcommittee on Science and Technology, “FDA Science and Mission at Risk.” http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/PublicHealth/MedPrep/2010-FEB-22/Feb-24-Session-5-Cassell-FDA-Science.pdf
[4] http://www.naturalnews.com/z024910.html
[5] http://drrimatruthreports.com/emergency-cdc-whistleblower-to-cave-stop-him/ [6] http://www.webdc.com/pdfs/deathbymedicine.pdf
[7] Read the bill here: http://drrimatruthreports.com/updating-the-fda-attack-on-homeopathy/

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Voting Third Party - Only Vote Not Wasted!

Voting Third Party this November
Is the Only Vote Not Wasted!
Voting Third Party Furthers The Disruptive Agenda
Libertarians and Friends


Ben Shapiro, writing in the Daily Wire June 14, 2018, said he was shocked that FBI agents would interfere with American elections, and particularly in the 2016 presidential election.
"Buried in the Department of Justice Inspector General’s report – a report that found no political bias in the actions of the FBI during the Hillary investigation – is one massive bombshell: a text from FBI agent Peter Strzok to his lover, FBI agent Lisa Page. Here’s the insane exchange, circa August 2016: 
Page: "[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!"
Strzok: "No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it." 
WE’LL STOP IT? 
How in the world could an FBI agent – and not just an FBI agent, but a key, high-ranking FBI agent involved in both the Hillary Clinton investigation and the Russian election interference investigation – text this? And more importantly, how could the IG then find that no political bias was present in the actions of the FBI?" [1]
My comment posted at the Shapiro article was:
"While I doubt that Mr. Shapiro is really shocked, he does right by pointing to the FBI's interference in the election.  If you want a deep state "strong enough" to "guarantee security" you will get a deep state strong enough to "guide" the electoral process. We are not just witnessing deep state corruption in the FBI, we are seeing how all power corrupts. If you want a return to a free republic, both (G)OPers and Demoncrats in Congress must reassert "our representatives" control over the government. Or, failing that (and fail Congress will!) we the people must vote for third party candidates this November to send a clear message of rejection of the deep state takeover!"
That is the theme I take up here:  voting for the (G)OP or the Demoncrats is a vote for the Deep State. 

Such a vote is worse than wasted. It allows the "two" tax-eater party leaders to pretend to have public support.  The only vote that is not wasted is a vote for any third party candidate.  Only someone   willing to stand for Congress on a ticket other than the duopoly parties is someone we might be able to trust in Congress! Continuing Donald Trump's disruptive impact on American politics requires a real shake-up of voting habits.

What impact will third party votes have on the way the ruling parties govern?

Historically, American third parties have often "set the agenda" for the governing coalitions, even though the "two party system" has been maintained as a structure in which the elites are able to contain their rivalries. There are numerous examples of significant policy changes, from the end of slavery through alcohol prohibition of the effect of third party movements throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries.  Independent campaigns, such as those of former governor George Wallace (the last independent candidate to win electoral votes in multiple states - 1968), connected businessman Ross Perot and politician John Anderson determined the scope of presidential politics throughout the second half of the 20th Century.

What impact will future third party votes have on election outcomes?

Let's look at Libertarian Party votes over the past three presidential elections. I addressed that in more detail [2] where I wrote,

"The recent trend in Libertarian Party [www.lp.org] Presidential Vote Results is clearly upward: [3]

          2008 - 523,715 - 0.40%
          2012 - 1,275,971 - 0.99%
          2016 - 4,488,914 - 3.28%

[Note that the 2016 total, when two former two term (G)OP governors carried the LP banner, was substantially larger than the 2.9 million vote difference between the two tax-eater parties.]"

Third party votes most likely prevented Hillary Clinton from becoming president.

During the 2017 off-year election LP candidates garnered anywhere from 1% to 45% of the votes cast in particular local elections [4]. As far back as the presidential election of 1972 the LP presidential candidate did receive an electoral vote in Virginia [5].

Voter participation (as a percent of VAP -- Voting Age Population ) peaked, interestingly in 1860, at 81% and has slowly declined to 2016's 55.5% (the lowest was 50.3% in 2000). [6] As the voting percentage has declined, in recent years, however, the percentage of people who regularly vote for third parties has grown. [7] This is confirmed by the above noted LP presidential votes over the past three cycles.

So the question becomes: what is a patriotic American to do when faced with the choices on the ballot this coming November?

Voting for either Democrats or Republicans just encourages the continuation of the current situation -- Congress unable to reform the broken "progressive" entitlement programs that are leading us to ruin.

The Federal Government still chooses to borrow about 40% of its bloated budget, policing the world to make it safe for Chinese commerce, while failing to provide safe roads, bridges and schools here in America.

While the deregulation "Trump Boom " may paper-over the fundamentals, for a while, we are still faced with extraordinary increases in the Federal Debt, which are themselves papered-over by the Federal Reserve buying nearly all new Treasury Bonds and inflating the money supply as a result. This Keynsian debt time bomb will blow up the boom, sooner or later. Especially since the President has famously stated, "I love debt."

The two tax-eater parties need to fear a taxpayer revolt, again. Taxed Enough Already. That revolt is always expressed by refusing to vote for the duopoly parties. They do, indeed, watch the numbers carefully.

If even ten percent of voters started regularly voting third party, the duopoly would shudder.

If a third did so, it would collapse and the deadlock in DC would be replaced by new alliances and new approaches.

The power of disruptive politics has been proven by the Trump Presidency.

Your vote counts. But only if you don't vote Democan or Republicat.

It's TEA time again!

------

[1] https://www.dailywire.com/news/31856/bombshell-fbi-agent-said-hed-make-sure-trump-was-ben-shapiro

[2] http://tinyurl.com/ok2belibertarian

[3] http://lpedia.org/Libertarian_Party_US_Presidential_Election_Results#2008_Presidential_Election

[4] https://www.lp.org/election-updates-for-november-2017/

[5] https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/map/historic.html#2008

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout_in_the_United_States_presidential_elections

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_third_party_performances_in_United_States_elections



Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Trump Signs Misnamed "Right to Try" Law

A LAW FOR WRONGS, NOT RIGHTS
"Thousands of terminally ill Americans will finally have hope, and the fighting chance, and I think it's going to better than a chance, that they will be cured, they will be helped, and be able to be with their families for a long time, or maybe just for a longer time." Donald J. Trump
President Trump signed the so-called Right to Try bill, S-204, passed by Congress, into law today.

The website for the 115th Congress describes the law with this official summary: [1]
"This bill amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to exempt, from specified requirements and restrictions under that Act and other laws, the provision of certain unapproved, investigational drugs to a terminally ill patient who has exhausted approved treatment options and is unable to participate in a clinical trial involving the drugs. The manufacturer or sponsor of an eligible investigational drug must report annually to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on any use of the drug in accordance with these provisions. The FDA shall post an annual summary report of such use on its website. The bill limits the liability of a sponsor, manufacturer, prescriber, or dispenser that provides, or declines to provide, an eligible investigational drug to an eligible patient in accordance with the bill."
The new law provides that any patient diagnosed with "a life-threatening disease or condition..." who has "exhausted approved [by whom?] treatment options..." as certified by a physician who is not compensated by a drug company, may benefit from the experimental treatment's exemption from FDA licensing.

The law also correctly requires, in section (1)(C) that the written Informed Consent of the patient or guardian be obtained.

Unfortunately the new law restricts its benefits only to pharmaceutical drugs that have already gone through FDA-approved Phase 1 testing or certain other procedures. This law does not apply to the many natural remedies or to medicines used in other countries. [2]

The law specifically exempts drug companies from liability for harm to the patient and provides that the FDA may not, in normal circumstances, use the outcome of the Right to Try to delay or deny drug approval. The law concludes with a Statement of the Sense of the Senate that the the law does not "establish a positive right to any party or individual..." and that any "use of experimental treatments under the criteria and procedure described in such section 561A involves an informed assumption of risk..."

Thus, what appears on first look as an act of compassion by Congress and the Administration, when viewed more closely, is a law made to protect drug companies without securing for Americans the Right to Try natural remedies that are not subject to FDA approval in the first place!

This new law does not expand Freedom of Choice and is at best a half-way measure that might benefit a few individuals. It does not address the excess power already possessed by an Agency of which former Congressman Ron Paul once said, to the effect, "the more power it has, the more power it has to abuse."
--------------------

Also posted at:  http://www.opensourcetruth.com/trump-signs-misnamed-right-to-try-law/

[1] https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/204
[2] There are other legal provisions which do allow some limited access to other remedies.  I have written about two of them here:
     Medical Foods:  http://vitaminlawyerhealthfreedom.blogspot.com/2013/05/medical-foods-under-orphan-drug-act.html
     Personal Importation:  http://www.lifespirit.org/perimport.html

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Will Blockchain Social Media Make Facebook and YouTube Obsolete?


Freedom Advocates Seeking Better Connections

Health Freedom, Vaccine Choice and other social reform advocates need to face the facts: it’s not just governments that seek to censor Internet expression. 

The “big boys” of the World Wide Web actively seek to restrict expressions of opinion that do not meet current “standards” of Political Correctness and Identity Politics[1].  It’s not just the “Great Firewall of China” that restricts worldwide political expression: the imposition of “community standards” by private companies simply as a cover to arbitrary, and maybe politically motivated, decisions by anonymous corporate hacks somewhere in some Internet boiler room out there... but, there may be a technical fix for this political problem.

Blockchain technology, which is the basis for Bitcoin and other crypto currencies, is a secure system of decentralized information distribution and verification.

The easiest way to think about blockchain is a massively distributed network that can’t be controlled by any entity and has no single point of failure. Every time there is a transaction or event in this network, every single node in the network is notified and updated. Each update is a “block” of data, creating a massively distributed ledger of data that is shared by every member of the network.[2]

Its business model is not like that of the centralized social media systems such as Facebook and YouTube, which rely on profiting from user-provided content. The new social media developing on the Blockchain, like Minds.com, Synero, Yoyow[3] or Steemit[4], recognize that the users are the content providers.

Though “the medium is the message” it is the content that is monetized. Currently companies like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat profit by selling advertising that appears along with user-generated content, offering “relevant” commercial information to the consumers of that user-generated content.

The corporate social media owners reap the advertising revenue reward while the volunteer content-makers create the value that the users seek. The Blockchain social media model proposes, instead, to reward the user-content-creators without the intermediation of corporate owners -- or at least with a much bigger share of the advertising pie.

In its purest form, such a network would lack a central body creating profit from the platform and therefore be unrestrained by the goal of appeasing advertisers. Like Bitcoin, it could be modelled on a system where those who invest most time and effort in the network have the greatest influence on its evolution.”[5]

The model proposed by the now-in-beta-testing Minds.com, for example, rewards user/contributors with a new crypto currency, the Minds Token, which can be used to boost postings, purchase at the Minds.com store, and, after the beta period, be converted to Bitcoin.

Minds.com founder Bill Ottman commented,

“I always knew that an open-source social network was inevitably going to emerge and become competitive with the top establishment social network... It also became clear that the mainstream social networks were not rewarding people — were not incentivizing people. They weren’t giving revenue opportunities. They’re restricting people’s reach — they’re spying on people! So it became sort of obvious that there’s a market requirement for this space that we’ve filled.”[6]

The economics of the social media is becoming a struggle between these two visions:

[1] Corporate advertising built on the intellectual efforts of (mainly) volunteer contributors, versus
[2] Decentralized systems where the advertising revenue is distributed, via the Blockchain, to the users.

At the same time, the propensity of the corporate sponsors to engage in “private” censorship of social media content is becoming of ever greater concern to the users of the media. After all, the purpose of engaging in the social media is to communicate ideas and information. That use is at odds with corporate censorship.

I’ve previously written about Privatizing Tyranny, the efforts of various governments to empower private entities in restricting the ideas which may be expressed openly.[7] Those private entities act “under color of law” as arms of government when blocking, down-throttling or down-grading the expression of certain ideas to which the governments object. If no one can see your comment your right to freedom of communication is meaningless.

Blockchain-mediated, decentralized social media are unable to be so manipulated. The would-be tyrants have no technical means to impose restrictions on such content.

This is a real threat to the centralized media, which appear to have been created, or at least boosted by government intelligence agencies (consider DARPA-connected, Facebook investor James Breyer).[8]  

Once the powerful financial link between the corporate overseers and the social media is broken by Blockchain decentralization, the ability of governments to use their corporate proxies to censor social media expression will begin to fade.

Will the Blockchain build a social media stronger than the controls even the most powerful of governments impose?  Does it matter to you as an advocate that you are being censored by government or by what claim to be “private” companies?

“Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram are prohibited by the Chinese government. Why does the Chinese government cut off its citizens' channels of communications with the outside world? What is it afraid of?” [9]

Freedom advocates must join in that question: “What are the huge social media corporations afraid of?” To ask this question is to answer it. They fear free people capable of asking that question!

The answer implies how we can Push Back and break free: boycott the “official” social media, whether directly government-affiliated as, for example, Yoyow may be[10], or whether corporate creatures of the state that pretend to be independent, like Facebook or YouTube. But boycotting is just the first step.

To be able to utilize the extraordinary power of the social media to protect freedom and effectuate change, you must patronize the Alt Social Media, and that means relying on the Blockchain for the privacy protection that it offers.

I’ve begun to shift my attention from Facebook and YouTube to Minds.com and other Blockchain Alt Social Media.  It is my attention that profits the centralized social media, so ultimately, it is my choice.

We each have that choice.



Ralph Fucetola JD is a retired lawyer, consultant – www.ProfessionalSafetyDossier.com – President of the Institute for Health Research – www.InHeRe.org – and VP of the Natural Solutions Foundation – www.GlobalHealthFreedom.org



[6] ibid Techworld
[10] ibid Bitconnect

Monday, April 9, 2018

Identity Politics: The Superstition that Divides


Wikipedia tells us “The term identity politics has been used in political discourse since at least the 1970s.” and “Identity politics refers to political positions based on the interests (sic) and perspectives of social groups with which people identify.” [1]

An example of identity politics is the policy of “affirmative action” (including racial preferences) as practiced by American educational institutions.

Affirmative action in the United States is a set of laws, policies, guidelines, and administrative practices "intended to end and correct the effects of a specific form of discrimination." These include government-mandated, government-sanctioned, and voluntary private programs that tend to focus on access to education and employment, specifically granting special consideration to historically excluded groups such as racial minorities or women...”[2]

The legal history of “Affirmative Action” is replete with complaints that preferences for certain identity groups must result in discrimination against other identity groups.  

Asian-Americans are, for example, victims of institutional efforts to redress perceived previous discrimination against others.[3]

Why, with the good intention of righting earlier wrongs, has identity politics lead to new forms of discrimination? Perhaps the cause is hidden in plain sight.  

When the subjects of identity politics are categorized by listing certain “accidents” of the human condition, such as race or gender[4], and then these categories (“social groups”) are said to have “interests and perspectives...” you know you are getting far away from the actual conditions of human action and into a land of superstitious beliefs where collective nouns can engage in action and have property interests, just as if they were individual persons.

But that is just the beginning of ascribing to collective nouns the attributes of personhood.  The discrimination and unfair treatment that such a political stand requires must further divide the population into competing combinations, seeking to damage their perceived opponents in order to benefit themselves.  Such a politics must descend to the vicious infighting so often seen in tyrannical societies.

Consider for example how politics was played in Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Soviet Union. Stalin was the great master in the practice of identity politics, finely parsing this group and that ethnicity, assigning some to Socialist Heaven, such as it was, and some to ... the Gulag. The “Night of the Long Knives”[5] and, of course, the Holocaust, are the norm for such systems of governance and are examples of identity politics at its worst.

Whole civilizations have been built on identity politics. Consider, for example, the Caste System of India, where every ethnicity and every occupation was locked in place with family ties.

So “identity politics” – the politics of what the Founders called “faction” are among the most violent of politics, and for good reason.  The other faction is seen as the enemy – if it is favored by the state, then the group with which one identifies will be disfavored by the state. And, in such societies, all "favors" flow from the state!

Every political issue becomes a matter of life or death.  The other faction must be demonized, dehumanized and ...ultimately liquidated. “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”[6]

Thus, identity politics must divide, must reduce social peace and must reduce social utility.  We are all poorer and less free as a result of such an approach to politics.

Rather, the approach of the Founders, even with all the “baggage” they brought, such as the “Four Great Monopolies” decried by Lysandor Spooner[7], remains the only approach that allows for peaceful human development. 

A limited, constitutional republic that respects individual rights and recognizes the primacy of such rights over the limited powers granted the government is perhaps the one last hope for those who still believe in the efficacy of public authority. 

All the forms of statist politics, including “Identity Politics” as practiced in the old Soviet Union or in the new American Empire lead to dire results and further prove the necessity of overthrowing the coercive state as a superseded social structure that has long outlived its supposed benefits.

As one commentator put it: “Should one expect an answer about identity to be anything other than a exploratory one, then one is seeking power, and is propounding and prescribing definitions that are self-serving.” [8]

Only individual humans feel, think, plan and act. The rest is superstition.



[4] “Examples include social organizations based on age, religion, social class or caste, culture, dialect, disability, education, ethnicity, language, nationality, sex, gender identity, generation, occupation, profession, race, political party affiliation, sexual orientation, settlement, urban and rural habitation, and veteran status. Not all members of any given group are involved in identity politics. Identity politics are used by minority and civil rights organizations to form a coalition with members of the majority.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identity_politics
[7] State churches, chattel slavery, the institutional inequalities of women and government trade monopolies

Monday, February 26, 2018

Church, State and Trump


CHURCH AND STATE IN TRUMP'S AMERICA


The Constitution says Congress has no power to legislate restrictively about religion.  By linking religion with speech, communication ("the press"), assembly and redress, the First Amendment creates what the Supreme Court has come to refer to as "Expressive Association."

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Religious organizations have come to rely on the powerful language of the First Amendment to assure their independence from political authority in America. 

The prohibition against Congress making any law prohibiting "free exercise" combined with our first Supreme Court's admonition that "the power to tax is the power to destroy" is the basis for the tax exemptions of churches. I wrote about this in 1998:

“Yeshua the Nazarite taught his followers to "render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's". He was adroitly avoiding, as the incident in the Bible makes clear, expressing an opinion regarding the Roman Empire's taxes. Jesus continued, "...and render unto God the things which are God's". Ever since, the question of the State's authority and Religion's right has been of central concern in Western religious and legal philosophy. We have seen how this conflict has been resolved, at present, in America. The tax (and other laws) we have discussed are part of that resolution, for, as our first Supreme Court said, "the power to tax is the power to destroy," and Congress has made it the law that the government may never use this power to destroy the independence and capacity to act of American churches. This is the Law of the Land and should be defended by all freedom-loving and religiously oriented people.” [1]

There have been few attempts to restrict religious speech in US history and all but one, the infamous 1954 Johnson Amendment, have fallen away.  That clause, imposed by LBJ while still a member of Congress, attempts to prevent churches from engaging in political speech. That is old law unlikely to be fully enforceable.

Congress adopted the RFRA, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (P.L. 103-141). In this enactment Congress determined that "governments should not substantially burden religious exercise without compelling justification..." and that "laws 'neutral' toward religion may burden religious exercise..." Therefore Congress determined to protect the free exercise of religion as follows:

"Sect. 3. Free Exercise of Religion Protected. (a) In General. -- Government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b). (b) Exception. -- Government may substantially burden a person's exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person -- (1) is in the furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest. (c) Judicial Relief. -- A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government..."

Under that law the courts have allowed churches great leeway. Examples include sponsoring peyote rituals and even asserting exemptions from certain Obamacare insurance requirements.

Recently people have been more strongly asserting their right to have their religious beliefs accommodated in reference to government and employer vaccine mandates. I’ve written about that and helped develop a form Demand for Religious Accommodation. [2]   

This trend has been further strengthened by actions taken by the Attorney General and President Trump. [Let it be understood that I am not a particular fan of either, and consider their old-fashioned views regarding the health benefits of Hemp to be particularly egregious.]

Attorney General Jeff Sessions had this to say on October 6, 2017: [3]

“Religious liberty is not merely a right to personal religious beliefs or even to worship in a sacred place. It also encompasses religious observance and practice. Except in the narrowest circumstances, no one should be forced to choose between living out his or her faith and complying with the law.”

The Attorney General Continues, in Point 2 of his Opinion

“2. The free exercise of religion includes the right to act or abstain from action in accordance with one’s religious beliefs.

“The Free Exercise Clause protects not just the right to believe or the right to worship; it protects the right to perform or abstain from performing certain physical acts in accordance with one’s belief. Federal statues, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (“RFRA”), supports that protection, broadly defining the exercise of religion to encompass all aspects of observance and practice, whether or not central to, or required by, by a particular religious faith.”  [4]

Last May President Trump signed an Executive Order essentially nullifying the Johnson Amendment, except for actually endorsing political candidates.

"The order, which Trump inked during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, directs the IRS not to take "adverse action" against churches and other tax-exempt religious organizations participating in political activity that stops short of an endorsement of a candidate for office. But pastors are already free to deliver political speeches, and regularly do. Churches and other tax-exempt organizations are restricted from endorsing or explicitly opposing political candidates under the 1954 Johnson Amendment, but the executive order Trump signed Thursday makes clear that those activities would still not be permitted." [5]

The wording of the Order states:

"Section 1. Policy. It shall be the policy of the executive branch to vigorously enforce Federal law's robust protections for religious freedom. The Founders envisioned a Nation in which religious voices and views were integral to a vibrant public square, and in which religious people and institutions were free to practice their faith without fear of discrimination or retaliation by the Federal Government. For that reason, the United States Constitution enshrines and protects the fundamental right to religious liberty as Americans' first freedom. Federal law protects the freedom of Americans and their organizations to exercise religion and participate fully in civic life without undue interference by the Federal Government. The executive branch will honor and enforce those protections." [6]

Subsequently, in January 2018, the President created a "Conscience and Religious Freedom Division in HHS:

"Social conservatives and religious liberty leaders have anticipated conscience and religious freedom protections to come out of HHS, and the work of the new division, which will fall under the purview of the Office of Civil Rights, will likely pave the way for health care workers to refuse specific types of care, like birth control or abortion, based on their religious or conscience objections." [7]

Bottom Line:  restrictions on religious involvement in public affairs, which IMHO always violated the absolutist language of the First Amendment (or as Justice Hugo Black was accused of saying, "No law means no law."), are becoming unenforceable.  Similarly, the right to assert conscientious objections to acting contrary to one's religious beliefs is becoming more respected by the civil authorities.

This may apply not only to conscientious objection to decorating wedding cakes, but also to submitting to vaccination or other demands of an ever more intrusive bureaucracy. These are highly significant developments.

Rev. Ralph Fucetola JD