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Date: April 10, 2013Topic: Freedom of ReligionAim: How has religious freedom been defined by the Supreme Court?Do Now: Describe the following provisions and explain how each has been used to expand federal power – a.) The power to tax and spend b.) The elastic clause c.) The commerce clause.

first amendment
First Amendment
  • Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

What are the clauses?

quick review quick review quick review
QUICK REVIEW! QUICK REVIEW! QUICK REVIEW!

HOW CAN WE NOW BREAK DOWN THE FIRST AMENDMENT?

free exercise of religion
Free Exercise of Religion
  • The court has been historically very open in the free exercise of religion (like speech).
  • Church of the LukumiBabalu Aye v. Hialleah (1993)– animal sacrifice would be allowed in the Church of Santeria.
  • Reynolds v. United States (1878) – free exercise clause does not permit criminal activity like bigamy/polygamy – Federal Anti-bigamy Law.
  • What about conscientious objectors?
  • The court has said you do not necessarily have to believe in a supreme being to be an objector.
establishment clause
Establishment Clause
  • Supreme Court has made the wall of separation doctrine between church and state.
  • Nothing specifically in the Constitution that states separation of church and state – applied by the courts through the first amendment.
  • Everson v. Board of Education (1947) - wall of separationdoctrine defined.
  • Engel v. Vitale (1962) – no prayer in public schools.
  • Lee v. Weisman (1992) - no prayer at graduation either.
  • Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971)- established the three pronged test on whether or not the establishment clause has been violated.
  • a.) The government action must have a secular religious purpose.
  • b.) The governments action must not prohibit or advance a religion.
  • c.) The governments action must not result in an excessive entanglement with religion.

LEMON TEST!

there is still confusion

Michael Newdow

There is still confusion…
  • In God We Trust – YES!
  • Under God – YES for NOW.
  • Ten Commandment displays – sometimes.
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