A recent piece for the Civitas Institute discusses unanswered questions surrounding religious liberty in North Carolina:
…The North Carolina courts have not directly addressed [Employment Division v.] Smith, and judicial opinions are subject to interpretation and revision over time. Even should Boyle secure an opinion from our appellate courts affirming that North Carolina case law provides robust protections for religious liberties, it could take months or years to achieve such a result. There is always room for the legislature to provide clarity on such fundamental issues.
In short, RFRA’s history is extremely complicated, which is unfortunate in a news media culture driven by sound bites and sensationalism. Hopefully, the future will bring clarity to how North Carolina protects religious freedoms, whether via judicial opinions, legislation, or both.