The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was signed into law 30 years ago—on November 16, 1993—and was sponsored by one of the most bipartisan coalitions in American history. In the years since its passage, RFRA has succeeded in providing critical protections for religious freedom, most especially for religious minorities. Join Faith and Law and the Becket Fund for this panel discussion looking back on RFRA’s extensive, fascinating, and all-important 30-year history, as well as a preview to new challenges ahead. Panelists include the Honorable Bob Goodlatte, one of the original cosponsors of RFRA; Doug Carver, former Chief of Chaplains of the U.S. Army; Howie Slugh of the Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty; and Sister Constance of the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Panel discussion featuring:
- Hon. Bob Goodlatte
- Howard “Howie” Slugh, JCRL
- Sister Constance, Little Sisters of the Poor
- Doug Carver, Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board
- Daniel Blomberg, Becket
Bob Goodlatte served in the United States House of Representatives representing Virginia's 6th congressional district for 13 terms. During his tenure, he cosponsored the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Goodlatte’s service to the people of the Sixth District began in 1977 when he became District Director for former Congressman Caldwell Butler. He served in this position for two years until 1979, and was responsible for helping folks across the District seeking assistance with or encountering problems from various federal agencies. In 1979, he founded his own private law practice in Roanoke. Later, he was a partner in the law firm of Bird, Kinder and Huffman, working there from 1981 until taking office.
Rep. Goodlatte was first elected to serve as Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in the 113th Congress. He was the first Judiciary Committee Chairman from Virginia in the last 125 years. Rep. Goodlatte was an active Member of the Judiciary Committee since arriving in Congress, serving in a variety of leadership positions on the Committee including taking the lead on many intellectual property issues.
Sister Constance has been a Little Sister of the Poor for over 30 years. She began working with the Little Sisters as a high school volunteer and entered the community after college, professing her perpetual vows in 1992.
Sister Constance has served in various capacities in the direct care of the elderly and on the provincial council of her community, however the majority of her experience has been in communications and vocations work. She currently serves as the Little Sisters’ U.S. communications director, overseeing the community’s publications and web presence for their U.S. homes. Sister has degrees in occupational therapy and health care administration.
Howard Slugh is a founder and General Counsel of the Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty. He is also an attorney for Cooper and Kirk in Washington, DC focusing on constitutional law. His writings have been published in National Review Online, the Weekly Standard, Daily Wire, Baltimore Sun, Public Discourse, American, American Thinker, and other media.et Caucus and the International Creativity and Theft-Prevention Caucus.
Doug Carver is the Executive Director of Chaplaincy for the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board. An advocate for the religious liberty of service members, veterans, and their families, he oversees the professional and pastoral support to 3700 Southern Baptist Chaplains who minister in various institutional settings in the United States and around the world. He was the Army’s 22nd Chief of Chaplains (2007-2011), leading and serving over 2900 chaplains supporting the religious and pastoral needs of our 1.2 million soldiers and families. Chaplain Carver served at every level of the Army, from platoon to the Department of the Army Staff. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in religion from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, a Master of Divinity degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Master of Science in strategic studies from the United States Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Daniel Blomberg is vice president and senior counsel for Becket. Before joining Becket, he clerked for Chief Judge Alice M. Batchelder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and served as litigation counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom. Daniel’s clients have included an international order of nuns, the world’s largest religious media organization, synagogues, members of the U.S. military, religious healthcare ministries, peaceful protestors, halfway houses, religious colleges, state legislators, homeless shelters, religious business owners, an art gallery, and churches. Daniel has represented a wide variety of faith groups, including Anglicans, Baptists, Catholics, Hindus, Hutterites, Jews, Lutherans, Mennonites, Muslims, Presbyterians, Russian Orthodox, and Sikhs. Cases on which he has served as counsel to a party include: Our Lady of Guadalupe v. Morrissey-Berru, 140 S. Ct. 2049 (2020); Zubik v. Burwell, 136 S. Ct. 1557 (2016); Little Sisters of the Poor v. Sebelius, 134 S. Ct. 1022 (2014); InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA v. Bd. of Governors of Wayne State Univ., 534 F. Supp. 3d 785 (E.D. Mich. 2021); and Singh v. Carter, 168 F. Supp. 3d 216 (D.D.C. 2016); and Swagler v. Neighoff, 837 F. Supp. 509 (D. Md. 2011).