Freedom of Religion

Posted December 29th, 2012 by admin and filed in Uncategorized

Religious freedom is a liberty Americans hold dearly. The Constitution provides three specifications of religious liberty. One is noted in Article VI which declares, “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Presently, this provision doesn’t appear as necessary but at the time of its drafting, it was quite innovative.This was because in England and in the colonies, it was required that office holders swore a belief to a particular religion. The writers of the Constitution wanted to ensure the American government would not make this requirement of those serving in public office.

The First Amendment contain further religious liberties in two clauses known as the establishment clause and the free exercise clause. It states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….”The intention of the First Amendment is to limit the government’s infringement into private affairs such as religion.

The purpose of the establishment clause is to prevent the government from establishing a state religion or using the powers of the government to support a particular religion. The purpose of the free exercise clause is to prevent the government from intruding on individual religious choices. Interestingly, the Supreme Court dealt with few religion cases until the middle of the twentieth century.

However, the law is more complex and doesn’t always provide direct application to every case. Therefore, the intervention of the Supreme Court is necessary to clarify and define further the intentions of the Constitution.



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