Handout - Free Exercise PSC 2302 BEST

Handout - Free Exercise PSC 2302 BEST - First Amendment:...

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First Amendment: The Religion Clauses What does the First Amendment say regarding religion and religious freedom? Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof Two “Clauses” in the First Amendment : 1. Free Exercise ”: Government is coercing you or prohibiting you from acting in a certain way that is necessary to fulfill the dictates of your religious faith. Generally prohibits government from coercing you to …. . 1) practice the tenets of a religion that is not your own 2) doing things that go against the tenets of your own religion, or possibly prohibiting you from 3) taking certain actions necessary for you to exercise your religion; or 4) forbidding religious worship altogether. Clear Example: Government cannot forbid you from praying or bowing down to you God. Government cannot forbid certain practices because it wishes to burden a religious practices / activity precisely because it is religious. Religious activity cannot be targeted because the government dislikes the religious message. 2 . Establishment” : Government is supporting or aiding religion. Generally prohibits the Government from supporting or aiding…. 1) sanctioning/ aiding / supporting a particular religious practice or belief [ at the exclusion of other religions] 2) establishing or sanctioning religion in general at the expense of non-religious persons. Clear Example : Government cannot set up one particular religion as the official state religion and thus require homage and money to be given to that religion. Non-believers cannot be required to support eligious practices unless other secular groups are given the same government support or benefit. I. THE FREE EXERCISE CLAUSE A. EARLY CASES ON FREE EXERCISE Reynolds v. US (1878) : Belief/ Action distinction First free exercise clause case in which the Supreme Court upheld a federal law that prohibited the Mormon practice of polygamy. The Court said people are free to maintain their religious beliefs, but government does not necessarily have to ensure that they are given the freedom to take action on those beliefs. Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925 ): Right of Parents to educate their children privately according to some state standards: Court Struck down an Oregon law requiring parents to send their children to public school. The court struck this down under on Due Process grounds. Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940) : Free Exercise clause incorporated into the 14 th Amendment. West Virginia State Board v. Barnette (1943): Government prohibited from requiring a student to say the Pledge of allegiance on Free Exercise and Free Speech grounds. Braunfeld v. Brown (1961): Sunday Closing laws upheld – not a free exercise violation. A state can enact a
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Handout - Free Exercise PSC 2302 BEST - First Amendment:...

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