On today’s show Don and Joanne discuss the portion of the First Amendment that covers freedom of religion.
Freedom of Religion
Religious liberty, also known as freedom of religion, is “the right of all persons to believe, speak, and act – individually and in community with others, in private and in public – in accord with their understanding of ultimate truth.” The acknowledgement of religious freedom as the first right protected in the Bill of Rights points toward the American founders’ understanding of the importance of religion to human, social, and political flourishing. Freedom of religion is protected by the First Amendment through its Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause, which together form the religious liberty clauses of the First Amendment. The first clause prohibits any governmental “establishment of religion” and the second prohibits any governmental interference with “the free exercise thereof.” These clauses of the First Amendment encompass “the two big arenas of religion in constitutional law. Establishment cases deal with the Constitution’s ban on Congress endorsing, promoting or becoming too involved with religion. Free exercise cases deal with Americans’ rights to practice their faith.”