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Regulating Religion: The Courts and the Free Exercise Clause

Catharine Cookson

Abstract

Religious free exercise conflicts occur when religiously compelled behavior (whether action or inaction) appears to violate a law that contraindicates or even criminalizes such behavior. Fearful of the anarchy of religious conscience, the U.S. Supreme Court opted instead for authoritarianism in this church and state matter: The state's need for civil order is conclusively presumed to be achieved by enforcing uniform obedience to generally applicable laws, and thus legislation must trump the human and constitutional right to religious freedom. Rejecting the Court's unthinking rigorism, the book ... More

Keywords: Anarchy, Authoritarianism, casuistry, children, church and state, civil order, conclusive presumptions, conflict of principles, Free exercise of religion, Freedom of conscience, Human rights, Native American Church, Peyote, Religious freedom, social order, Spiritual healing

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2001 Print ISBN-13: 9780195129441
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003 DOI:10.1093/019512944X.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Catharine Cookson, author
Virginia Wesleyan College