Davis v. Beason (1890) Facts : As part of a long-standing campaign to harass Mormons, a campaign motivated in part by religious bigotry and in part based on the lofty political aspirations of some Church elders, the Territory of Idaho enacted a law limiting the right to vote to males who had not been convicted of certain crimes or to males who swore an oath that they did not practice polygamy and were not a member of any organization that “advices, counsels, or encourages” anyone to commit bigamy or polygamy. Question : violation of free exercise clause of first amendment? Holding : No. Rationale : It was never intended or supposed that the amendment could be invoked as a protection against legislation for the punishment of acts inimical to the peace, good order, and morals of society. However free the exercise of religion may be, it must be subordinate to the criminal laws of the country, passed with reference to actions regarded b general consent as properly the subjects of punitive legislation. Human sacrifice is a tenet of many sects, but would
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First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Salute, Free Exercise Clause, Davis v. Beason