12.2b Free Exercise of religion
The right to advocate one’s religion by speech
or writing can only be curbed when there is danger of substantial
injury to the rights of others. The secular regulation rule has
been established by the Supreme Court, stating that a person cannot
be exempted on the basis of religious belief, if the law deals with
a non-religious basis. Further, owing to religious convictions,
one is not exempted from complying with otherwise valid laws designed
to protect the public peace, health, safety and morals. For example,
the Supreme Court sustained laws forbidding the practice of polygamy
as applied to Mormons as well as the laws forbidding business activities
on Sunday in order to promote health, rest, as applied to orthodox
Jews. However the least restrictive means test permits the
state to grant exemptions to its regulations for religious reasons.
Also, according to strict scrutiny, the state has to show
that there is a "compelling government interest" justifying
a law that imposes a hardship on religious observance.
In modern times, numerous problems arise owing to the fact that many nations are sharply divided into religious factions. It is indeed a significant achievement of the American political system that religious differences have been amicably accommodated in the country. Evidently, the Court has been in favor religious freedom however; it is generally acknowledged as well that the so called "Wall of Separation" is extremely difficult to maintain.
12.1 Perspective on Civil Liberties
12.2 The First Amendment:Freedom of Religion
The First Amendment:Freedom of Speech
12.4 The First Amendment:Freedom of Press
The Rights of Defendants