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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.

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Index

12.0 Introduction
12.1 Perspective on Civil Liberties
12.2 The First Amendment:Freedom of Religion
12.3 The First Amendment:Freedom of Speech
12.4 The First Amendment:Freedom of Press
12.5 The Rights of Defendants
12.6 Implied Rights

Chapter 13





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