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religion&Politics3.19.08 - Free Exercise Accommodation...

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3/19/08 Free Exercise Accommodation. o An otherwise valid or neutral law substantially burdens religious belief/practice then to survive a free exercise challenge the gov’t must show 1) a Compelling state interest is served by the law (and that the law is narrowly drawn or tailored and is the least restrictive way to complete the purpose of the law) 2) State must show that the purpose of the law would be substantially harmed or diminished if an exemption was granted in the law for religious observance. This law is different than a law that is directed against a religion (belief or practice) This would be a direct violation of the establishment clause. In Wisconsin vs. Yoder the SC found that although education is a compelling state interest, an exemption for the Amish was warranted. o Goldman v. Weinberger Captain in the Air Force who used to wear a Yarmulke. Goldman felt that the requirement that he not wear the Yarmulke, which is a religious requirement, was interfering with his free expression of his religion. The SC ruled against him because the military has a compelling interest in keeping a uniform corps. Many felt that the Court was being too deferential to the military and that they in no way showed that Goldman wearing the Yarmulke had anything Neutral Law of general applicability What if Goldman was more instrumental in the military? Would they make an exception to his Religious belief must be sincerely held how is the government to decide which beliefs are sincere and which are not. Lyng vs. Navajo (1988) Gov’t owned a forest at Chimney Rock which is used by the native Americans to use as ceremonial lands.
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