Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code

Title 5. Government Liability

Chapter 110. Religious Freedom

TRFRA Section 110.003 Religious Freedom Protected

Analysis:

This section actually states what the government may not do regarding religious freedom. It says that a “government agency may not substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion.” This statement uses the two previous definitions we covered, the definition of “government agency” and “substantial burden.” When reviewing who can or cannot burden your religious freedom and how much they can burden it, refer back to these definitions.

Subsection (a) refers to subsection (b). Subsection (b) provides the specific guarantees that must be provided before a government agency can burden your religious freedom. Remember, few if any rights are absolute. There are always conditions under which the state may violate your rights. But, the state’s power to violate your rights is not absolute either. The state can violate your rights only if it provides you with certain guarantees that protect the right. Here, the state legislature has stated what those guarantees must be. These statutory guarantees are greater than what the federal constitution has been interpreted to provide to religious freedom against broad infringements but they are similar to the statutory guarantees provided by the federal congress against federal infringement of religious freedom.

The two important guarantees are the compelling state interest test and the least restrictive means test. Together, these tests are what constitutes strict scrutiny and is the highest degree of protection afforded any right. Sound familiar? This is what you want to get the family court to use in your child custody rights case. This statute gives you a way to get there.

Subsection (c) backs this protection off a bit if the government agency has met the test to take a government action, it need not meet the least restrictive means when enforcing that action. This is a bit of a softening on this issue but not a major one for most people. The important issue is that a government agency can only infringe your religious freedom under strict scrutiny conditions. To the degree the parents have a religious right to share their own religious beliefs and values with their children and the children have a right to receive this training and to the degree they have a right to worship together as a family, the parent-child relationship is protected by this statute.  

Subsequent posts on this topic will continue to explain the power of this statute and how it applies to parents in SAPCR proceedings. You will also find that we have created a package of training and assistance with using this statute in your case. Keep reading and soon you will learn that using this statute you may get your attorney’s fees and costs paid for by the state of Texas. You may even get compensatory damages for the harm the court did to you and your child up to a maximum of $10,000. So, keep reading and when you have completed the free materials, inquire about the FFC Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act (TRFRA) Package that provides tools and shortcuts that you and your attorney can use to win your equal rights to your children back and to avoid costly mistakes that could prevent you from receiving the protection of this statute.

TRFRA Section 110.001 Definitions:
TRFRA Section 110.002 Application:
TRFRA Section 110.003 Religious Freedom Protected:
TRFRA Section 110.004 Defense:
TRFRA Section 110.005 Remedies:
TRFRA Section 110.006 Notice; Right to Accommodate:
TRFRA Section 110.007 One-Year Limitations Period:
TRFRA Section 110.008 Sovereign Immunity Waived:

Below is the full text of Section 110.003 of the Texas Civil Practices & Remedies Code

 

Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code

Title 5. Government Liability

Chapter 110. Religious Freedom

 

Sec. 110.003.  Religious Freedom Protected. 

(a)  Subject to Subsection (b), a government agency may not substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion.

(b)  Subsection (a) does not apply if the government agency demonstrates that the application of the burden to the person:

(1)  is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and

(2)  is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest.

(c)  A government agency that makes the demonstration required by Subsection

(b) is not required to separately prove that the remedy and penalty provisions of the law, ordinance, rule, order, decision, practice, or other exercise of governmental authority that imposes the substantial burden are the least restrictive means to ensure compliance or to punish the failure to comply.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1999.

* The authors of this post are NOT attorneys, we do not practice law, and cannot give you legal advice. What we offer is education on the laws and how they affect you and your children. We help you become better consumers of legal services from attorneys and we help you get better outcomes from the legal system by increasing your knowledge and understanding of how the system works for and against you and your constitutional rights. Make sure you check with an attorney for the legal technical procedures and how you might apply this to your case. We are not responsible for your results or consequences in your suit or dispute for anything you use from this site, packages, videos, or any other information that you get from us.

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