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A Closer Look on the Religious Liberty in the United States - Essay Example

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The first amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America states that the “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…
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A Closer Look on the Religious Liberty in the United States
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Download file to see previous pages The primary focus of this discussion is the free exercise clause and the establishment clause of the amendment. Several scholars had provided different positions regarding the amendment of the constitution and its practical and legal ramifications. Some scholars have highlighted the pitfalls of the implementation of the free exercise clause since it has been used by some individuals as shield against the law by using the notion of religious liberty as cover to their practices that is deemed by others as a criminal activity. Other scholars also suggest that religious liberty is an impossible ideal, targeting the lack of a concrete definition of what a religion is. In order to gain a broader knowledge on the concept of religious liberty as well as to develop a more in-depth understanding on the first amendment, the above said positions will be examined through the course of this paper. According to the Religious Liberty in American Law, the relation of religion and law in the United States may be summarized as follows; the government cannot establish a religion or church under the law, the people have the freedom of conscience in matters of religious belief and worship, citizens cannot be discriminated or be subjected to any form of legal preference based on different forms of religion (Bates 538). The citizens cannot be compelled to join any religious worship as well as contribute money in support to the religious institution, Public funds of any state may not be used or appropriated for the support of any religious organization, Religious tests cannon be established as a requirement to hold a public position, to have the right to vote, to be a juror or a witness in court proceedings and for any state policies and functions. The civil rights of a person cannot be reduced or altered based on his religious views and beliefs. All forms of religious beliefs are also given equal protection under the law. The law also states that everyone is guaranteed of religious liberty as long as it does not interfere with peace, good order, and the morals of society. Separation of the church and state, in terms of civil and ecclesiastical functions, is also stated in the first amendment (539). With the understanding of the provisions of the law, the first position may be addressed through the use of past court orders made for cases that involved the concept of religious freedom. The limitations of religious liberty can also be addressed through the examples. According to Chester Antinaeu (221), the freedom of religion provides individual a preferred position in the hierarchy of socio-legal values though it is not absolute. Based on the proposition of Justice Black, a well-organized society cannot allow any individual to make a final decision on everything that he will do or not do that is free from his liabilities to the state. Thus individuals that practice their religious freedom are still subjected to conduct themselves to abide obediently to the laws of the state that are designed to protect the welfare of the society from any form of threats to danger. Thus for societies that are politically organized such as the United States, the judiciary department carries the burden of delimiting the fundamental freedoms that are given to its citizens (221). Historical jurisprudence had been a key guide in determining the limits of the religious freedom. On the early years of the law, an accused claimed that by the virtue of his religious freedom, he was exempted from the statute of the state that forbids polygamy. This may be a norm the members of the Jesus of Latter Day Saints in practicing their ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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