Church leaders oppose Idaho's religious freedom act

Posted: Friday, December 15, 2000

POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) -- Some Idaho church leaders want to repeal or amend Idaho's Free Exercise of Religion Act because it might let people do harm in the name of religion.

The law, similar to ones in other states, says that if government limits a person's religious practice it must show a compelling interest and that its action is the least restrictive option available.

The bill was overwhelmingly approved in the state House and Senate but Gov. Dirk Kempthorne signed it with the stipulation it would not go into effect for a year so religious leaders and legislators could discuss it further.

A statewide Episcopal Church convention last month urged the legislature to exclude laws on child abuse, domestic violence, child support and civil rights.

''Historically, horrible things have been done in the name of religion,'' said Alex Nagy, an Episcopal priest.

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