If you are currently freaking out over the new law in Indiana, you are grossly misinformed.
(CNN)The United States has seemingly erupted this week about what it means to live your religion, especially in Indiana, where its new Religious Freedom Restoration Act faces a firestorm from critics who say it uses faith as a pretext to discriminate against gay people.
Such state laws have been growing ever since the U.S. Religious Freedom Restoration Act became law in 1993, designed to prohibit the federal government from “substantially burdening” a person’s exercise of religion.
So far, 20 states have some version of the religious liberty law, and the legal controversies have grown, too.
Nonetheless, claims under those state RFRAs are “exceeding rare,” and victories involved mostly religious minorities, not Christian denominations, experts say.
“There is reason to doubt whether these state-level religious liberty provisions truly provide meaningful protections for religious believers,” wrote Wayne State University law professorChristopher Lund in a 2010 analysis, when there were only 16 states with such laws.
Here are some of the more interesting cases arising from the federal and state laws, touching upon an array of religious matters from a knife carried by an IRS accountant to a tea from the Amazon: