Other than allowing people to believe whatever they want, what legal protection does Freedom of Religion actually offer?


From what I can tell, most things that are legal under Freedom of Religion would be legal anyway. People are free to believe whatever they want to believe, they are free to go to fan club meetings on Sundays, they are free to wear whatever jewelry they want, etc. Without the specific Freedom of Religion, what rights would actually be lost? Are there rights that only exist because of Freedom of Religion? Are practices like circumcision the result of Freedom of Religion? *Should* religious practices that would otherwise be illegal be allowed protection under Freedom of Religion?

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8 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

It doesn’t give any additional rights-but neither does any amendment except the 14th- it just creates a second level of protection from government discriminating unfairly against a religion. The establishment clause is related, but distinct legally.

>The Court examined whether the state of South Carolina violated the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment in denying unemployment benefits to a person for turning down a job, because it required him or her to work on the Sabbath. The Court ruled 7-2 that the South Carolina statute did impede a person’s right to freely exercise religion, in violation of the Free Exercise Clause. (Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963))

Whether the gov could or would ban circumcision would be about free exercise, at least for jews, but Reynolds v US outlawed polygamy even though it was central to mormonism, there are limits to free exercise and all the others.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The law is important because there are still places in the world where governments dictate what religion is acceptable to their citizens.

It is intended to prevent government from imprisoning, harassing, or killing people who don’t share the same beliefs as the president, Congress, and the Senate.

Anonymous 0 Comments

What do you mean ‘would be?’ You do realize there are places on Earth where people are literally murdered for believing the ‘wrong’ religion?

Anonymous 0 Comments

It prevents Congress from making any law that would restrict the free excercise of their religious beliefs. Same thing like you don’t need a law to say you’re allowed to assemble or say what you want … but it prevents anyone from passing a law preventing you from doing those things

Anonymous 0 Comments

When you say “Freedom of Religion” (capitalizes, what are you referring to? The first amendment? The concept? The principle? It is difficult to outline the legal protections you are asking about without a clearer understanding of the legal basis you are citing.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I think others may be misunderstanding your question. I think you’re asking, why single out *religion* out for special protection, rather than lumping it in with all other beliefs and behaviors that are protected via freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, etc? What’s the difference between the freedom to meet for a bar mitzvah and the freedom to meet for a Pokemon game?

And the answer is that a lot more people have gotten killed for their religious beliefs than their opinions on Pokemon. When the body count hits hundreds of millions, you start thinking maybe you need a special rule.

Anonymous 0 Comments

The right to be not-Protestant and have a job. Not fully implemented until the 1960s, in the last Supreme Court case on religious tests for office.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Beyond what is inherently contained within whatever your country has along the lines of freedom of assembly and expression/speech (which gives you the right to get together with a bunch of friends to buy a hall and have a sing song), it gives a varying package of extra rights. They typically include:

– tax exemptions
– exemptions from anti discrimination laws
– relaxed rules for charity status
– protection from contractual obligations regarding things like haircuts or workplace dress codes
– easier avoidance of things like conscription
– reduced protection for children for things like vaccination.

On the whole, IMO that’s a bad thing