Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Creative, More Inclusive Use of Texas' RFRA

(Picture from Washington Post, Courtesy of Joan Cheever)
Much has been made of controversies surrounding state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts or RFRAs. Mainly we hear how various establishments wish to use these to deny someone service. A Texas woman recently found a more creative and inclusive use for Texas’s iteration of this type of law.

You may have already heard this fascinating story involving homeless advocate, Joan Cheever, who was ticketed in San Antonio for feeding the homeless: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/04/20/what-happened-when-this-feisty-woman-got-fined-2000-for-feeding-the-homeless/. She is basing part of her defense on Texas’ Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the ruling given in 2013 right here in Dallas regarding feeding the homeless. Check that out: http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2013/03/federal_judge_dallas_cant_keep.php.

These occurrences in Dallas and San Antonio seem to be cases where government attacks the symptoms created by a problem, instead of solving the underlying problem itself. Our good friend, CEO of CitySquare and MDHA Board Member reminded government officials a few months back that what we really need are real solutions. His op-ed is worth rereading. Check it out: http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/latest-columns/20141114-larry-james-homeless-spirits-are-already-broken.ece. Wise and compassionate words from a wise and compassionate man!

No comments:

Post a Comment