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Posted: June 28th, 2022
1. What are the establishment clause and the free exercise clause? What controversies have arisen in the United States over the issue of freedom of religion,
The establishment clause was initially being designed to ensure the separation of the church and the state. Additionally, the establishment clause was developed mainly to promote neutrality towards the religion. On the other hand, the establishment clause does not necessarily promote separation of power but ensures that the government is not hostile towards the state. However, the government’s action towards a particular case should be consistent with the overriding religious principles. Also, the establishment clause allows the government to include and involve religious institutions in the provision of services, for instance, services such as fire protection as well as police protection services.
The government also ensures that religious institutions get equal access to resources, and services, which is not a violation of the establishment clause. The official neutrality of the establishment clause does not prohibit the government from involving religious institutions in public forums or the government from acknowledging religious practices.
On the other hand, the free exercise clause prohibits the government from interfering with religious beliefs or discriminating against various religions. The free exercise clause was initially drafted to protect and accommodate collective and individual religious practices. On the other hand, the supreme court does not allow people to be exempted from general laws, such as marriage laws, just because their religion accepts or prohibits that particular type of marriage, such as polygamy.
1. What controversies have arisen in the United States over the issue of freedom of religion,
Religious freedom has been a big issue in the united states for a long time. According to most Americans, religious freedom is more than just having the freedom to worship. Having to go against religious values and beliefs to conform to government laws is the biggest issue (Colombo, 2017). According to the first amendment, Congress cannot make any law prohibiting the free exercise clause or the establishment clause. However, the supreme court allows the government to limit freedom of religion only when protecting the common good of its citizens.
The freedom of religion do not allow people behave and act however they want under religious beliefs. One of the controversies that have risen involves discrimination charges. People are forced to provide services to a function that violates their religious beliefs, for instance, being forced to manage, or provide photography in a wedding involving same-sex. On the other hand, an LGBTQ cannot be forced to provide services where people do not support the LGBT community (Colombo, 2017). The controversy rises when discrimination is concerned, wherein in such a scenario, a particular group of people may feel discriminated against for being denied services. Most religious people expect special rights and privileges from the government, which does not apply. Religious freedom instead pit measures against people who use the state’s power to create their own beliefs.
Religious freedom protects people from government harassment, for instance, being denied the right to think and act consciously. Religious freedom controversies in the united states are based on conscience, outlaw conscience, erroneous conscience, and the constitutional question. According to the catholic conscience, religious freedom comes from objective truth, authentically declared by the church. On the other hand, the outlaw conscience, religious freedom is rooted in religious truth, where religious freedom has no rights (Colombo, 2017). On the other hand, Erroneous conscience involves internal personal freedom, which cannot be coerced to accept a specific religious faith. However, the three raises contradiction, especially when the government tries to fight for its place, especially against freedom of conscience.
Colombo, R. J. (2017). The religious liberty jurisprudence of Justice Antonin Scalia. Hofstra L. Rev., 46, 433.
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