Jeff Jacoby

Amid the sound and fury that greeted the Supreme Court's ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, many liberals had sharp words for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the federal law in which the court's decision was grounded.

The left-wing Center for American Progress urged Congress to weaken the law's protections, and the New York Times editorial blog pointedly reminded voters that "acts of Congress can be overturned or changed if the right lawmakers are in place." The Freedom From Religion Foundation placed full-page ads insisting that "Congress must repeal RFRA." Hillary Clinton fed the bonfire, telling an audience in Aspen, Colo., that the court's application of the statute called to mind the type of "very unstable, antidemocratic" theocracies where men exploit "women and women's bodies … because of their religion, their sect, their tribe."

The law that Hillary Clinton and the others find so disturbing now was, of course, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Congress had passed the measure with overwhelming bipartisan support; Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch were the lead Senate sponsors. "Let us never believe that the freedom of religion imposes on any of us some responsibility to run from our convictions," Clinton said at the signing ceremony. "Let us instead respect one another's faiths, fight to the death to preserve the rights of every American to practice [their] convictions." Most Democrats then, like most Republicans, shared that view.

Bill Clinton's religious freedom law isn't the only one that liberal Democrats today look upon with disdain.


Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby is an Op-Ed writer for the Boston Globe, a radio political commentator, and a contributing columnist for Townhall.com.