For Immediate Release: May 16, 2007 Contact: E.C. Danuel D. Quaintance, Church of Cognizance at (928) 485-2952 I ask for nothing more than open minds to examine the possible consequences of putting scriptural interpretations of a recognized religion to a test, in order to decide if that religion qualifies for First Amendment protections. It is not uncommon amongst followers of various faiths to interpret their common faith in different ways. The Supreme Court stated, in Thomas v. Review Board, âIntrafaith differences of that kind are not uncommon among followers of a particular creed, and the judicial process is singularly ill equipped to resolve such differences in relation to the Religion Clauses,â then went on to instruct that âCourts are not arbiters of scriptural interpretations.â This human freedom to interpret the scriptures as we see them was something most Americans take for granted. This freedom is not something small churches can take for granted any longer. The attack against a small church, and religious interpretations in general, has begun in a U.S. District court in New Mexico. New Mexico follows prior decisions of the 10th Cir. Courts. The 10th Circuit upheld the use of a test in the District of New Mexico, which originated in deciding if the beliefs of a newly established, one-man, religion qualified to receive First Amendment protection. The test has become known as the Meyers Matrix. The use of the Meyers Matrix test was never challenged in the Supreme Court of the United States. Now the Meyers test has been inappropriately used to test if a religious group of a recognized religion deserves protections under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, RFRA. Testimony of cultural anthropologist Dr. Deborah Pruitt, PhD, who specializes in many non-mainstream religions, revealed the Meyers test is highly skewed against a great number of recognized religions. Government, in an attempt to avoid the requirement of showing âa compelling government interestâ for burdening the free âExercise of Religionâ, has chosen a new and innovative path of getting around that requirement. First government attorneys declared the religion was âa Bastardized formâ of the religion. Then went on to declare, what synonymously amounts to claiming because the leader of a Christian church was no Christ, the church did not deserve the constitutional protection a religion enjoys. This wasnât enough insult to freedom of religion, government turned to a Priest of another sect of the religion, as an expert witness, in an attempt to prove another religious group incorrectly interprets the teachings, practices, and modes of worship of their common faith. This move showed a total disrespect for prior decisions of the Supreme Court, like the one quoted above. In the end it didnât matter that government attempted to test one sect against another. Governmentâs hoped results from such an attempt backfired. The testimony of governmentâs expert witness from the common faith ended up showing the small group might actually more correctly interpret many elements of their common faith. With the prior method failing it was up to the, recently appointed, Federal Judge to put the hammer down. U.S. District Judge Judith Herrera had her own methods of depriving religious freedoms. She decided to count the elements that were not met in the Meyers test, and then call that which was met âdicta,â which allowed her to not count that part of the test when arriving at a deciding average of whether or not the beliefs qualify for religious protections. By that move, and a determination that the âmantraâ considered the âmoral and ethical compass,â of this recognized religion, provided no moral or ethical guidance, the judge ruled that not enough factors of the Meyer Matrix were met to qualify for religious protections under RFRA or the First Amendment. End of story, the beginning of the end of a once highly honored protection amongst Americans. The only hope now is through contacting your representatives and asking them to investigate and put a halt to this disregard for cherished human rights. For more information visit http://danmary.org
Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.