President Clinton Speaks in Favor of Religious Freedom Legislation

President Clinton, meeting with a group of religious leaders here this week, spoke out in favor of religious freedom legislation now pending in Congress.

At a White House breakfast meeting Monday morning with about 100 religious leaders, including several rabbis, Clinton called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act “a very important issue to me personally.”

The act, supported by a broad coalition of Jewish and other religious groups, would make it harder for the government to encroach on free exercise of religion.

The president had previously voiced support for the legislation, which is designed to circumvent a 1990 Supreme Court resolution giving states greater leeway to restrict certain religious practices.

But the bill’s supporters were pleased that the president reiterated his backing this week.

“This administration is committed to seeing it through successfully. And I think virtually every person of faith in this country without regard to their party or philosophy or convictions on other issues agrees with that,” Clinton said.

The bill was unanimously passed the House of Representatives in May and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 15-1 vote. But the full Senate has yet to take up the measure.

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