(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) says religious freedom laws, along with stand your ground laws and voter ID rules, are part of a coordinated effort to marginalize certain Americans. They “are the same kind of legislative activities that we experienced in this country following the ending of Reconstruction,” he said.
“I will ask you, to just go back and do just a simple reading of what was taking place in this country in between 1876 and 1895 when southern states initiated these new constitutions that led to second-class citizenship of African-Americans, and you will find it’s like you’re reading yesterday’s news,” Clyburn told reporters at his Columbia office Thursday.
“The so-called religious freedom cases that seem to be working their way through legislatures are all a part of this American Legislative Council – ALEC. These are legislative actions that are being coordinated nationwide by this group,” Clyburn said.
“This is also the same group that’s been developing and coordinating legislation — ‘stand your ground’ laws, that legislation has been deployed all over the country. It’s also the same group that’s been developing all of these ‘voter ID’ cases or legislative actions that have been proliferating throughout the country.”
“I do know history. I’ve studied it. I’ve taught it and I read it incessantly, and my reading of the history of this country tells me that what we are beginning to experience legislatively throughout the country are the same kind of legislative activities that we experienced in this country following the ending of Reconstruction.”
Despite accusations by Clyburn and others, The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has no position on Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Vice President of Public Affairs for ALEC, Bill Meierling has issued a statement, saying, “However fashionable it is to accuse ALEC of perpetuating the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, it is wrong to do so. A simple check of the ALEC website proves the organization has no policy or position on the topic.”
The American Legislative Exchange Council describes its mission as working to advance limited government, free markets and federalism at the state level in partnership with America’s state legislators, members of the private sector and the general public.