In an effort to protect religious freedoms for all Americans, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill July 15 that ultimately could cause great harm to some children. The Religious Liberty Protection Act of 1999 (RLPA) (H.R. 1691) could have a significant impact on the laws protecting children and adolescents from child abuse and neglect.

This bill would prohibit any local or state government from placing a "substantial burdern" on a person's right to exercise religious beliefs. At first glance, the goals of RLPA may seem innocuous, with the basis being that people should be allowed to express their religion without government interference or discrimination, for example, by wearing yarmulkes to school or building churches in areas with zoning restrictions.

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