Religious Expression and the American Constitution
Publication Year: 2003
First Amendment rights have been among the most fiercely debated topics in the aftermath of 9/11. In the current environment and fervor for “homeland security,” personal freedoms in exchange for security are coming under more scrutiny. Among these guaranteed freedoms are the protection of religious expression given by the U.S. Constitution and the constitutional prohibitions against behaviors that violate the separation of church and state. The mandate that the government “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” is a general principle that has guided American courts in interpreting the original intent of the First Amendment. In Religious Expression and the American Constitution, Haiman focuses on the current state of American law with respect to a broad range of controversial issues affecting religious expression, both verbal and nonverbal, along with a review of the recent history of each issue to provide a full understanding.
Published by: Michigan State University Press
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I do marvel at the complexity of the human mind and body and of the other forms of life on earth, and at the order that exists in the orbiting of planets around our sun. So I am tempted by the notion that there is some kind of intelligent design behind it all. Yet, again, I have no idea what the cause of that might be, or even if the notion of a “cause” for it makes...
1. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
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Insofar as we know anything about the history of humankind, it appears that the need to engage in religious expression has always been present. African and Native American tribes, the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all had their pantheons of gods. In the sixth century B.C. a mystic in India called Buddha (born Siddhartha Gautama) and Chinese...
2. UNDERSTANDING THE FIRST AMENDMENT
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People who know about the First Amendment are most likely to think of freedom of speech in connection with it. They may be unaware either of its provisions with respect to religion or that those provisions actually precede the ones regarding speech and press. In its entirety the amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law...
3. RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION IN PUBLIC PLACES
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There is one aspect of religious expression that is, atypically, entirely noncontroversial. It is that individuals and groups are entirely free to display their religious symbols on their own property and to speak out orally in public places about their beliefs. What becomes problematic, and a potential violation of the establishment clause of the First...
4. RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
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The most intense struggles over religious expression and the separation of church and state have occurred and continue to occur within the public schools of the nation. That is because so many people perceive, either rightly or wrongly, that the shaping of young minds is at stake. Although the family is probably as important...
5. PUBLIC FUNDING OF RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS
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While it is an understatement to observe, as we have in the preceding chapter, that the Supreme Court has been relatively inactive with respect to school text and library book censorship, it would be almost impossible to overstate the extent to which it has rendered decisions on the subject of government financial support to religious...
6. HISTORICAL ISSUES OF RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION VERSUS COMPETING SOCIAL INTERESTS
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If President James Madison were alive today he would no doubt be seen as a wild-eyed extremist about the separation of church and state. Devoted believer that he was in Christianity and in a vigorous free exercise of religion, he viewed the slightest establishment of religion by government as entirely incompatible with the ability to exercise...
7. CURRENT ISSUES OF RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION VERSUS COMPETING SOCIAL INTERESTS
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The issues discussed in the preceding chapter, where religious expression has had to compete with conflicting societal interests, have by and large become settled matters as far as the United States Supreme Court is concerned. By contrast, most of those to be described in this chapter are questions that are still very much in dispute and are likely...
8. RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION AND POLITICAL LIFE
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There can be no doubt about the many enormously valuable contributions made to our American democracy by religious organizations and advocates. They range from the central role that churches and religious leaders played in the nineteenth-century struggle against slavery to the twentieth-century civil rights...
Appendix 2: THE GENERAL LAWS AND LIBERTIES OF THE MASSACHUSETTS COLONY
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Appendix 6: JAMES MADISON’S MEMORIAL AND REMONSTRANCE AGAINST RELIGIOUS ASSESSMENTS
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Appendix 8: THOMAS JEFFERSON’S REPLY TO THE DANBURY BAPTIST ASSOCIATION
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Index of Cases
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Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2003