Interpreting the Free Exercise of Religion: The Constitution and American Pluralism

By Bette Novit Evans | Go to book overview

3
BURDENS TO RELIGIOUS BELIEFS

THE BELIEF/ACTION DISTINCTION

Reynolds v United States drew a distinction between religious belief and action; beliefs, the Court ruled, were protected absolutely, but actions were subject to government regulation. 1 This distinction has been seriously discredited, and beginning with Cantwell v Connecticut, the courts have made clear that the Constitution protects religious actions as well as beliefs. 2 The distinction between belief and action was long considered dead. 3 However, in 1990, the majority in Employment Division v Smith revived the distinction and in doing so implied that the Free Exercise Clause is not breached if government does not coerce religious belief 4? It remains to be seen whether that unlamented distinction will seriously be resurrected.

In a simple, perhaps trivial, sense it is true that beliefs are protected absolutely; governments have neither the technology nor the interest to intrude into the realm of pure thought. It is only some kind of external behavior that raises governmental issues. Even Thomas Hobbes, in the midst of defending absolute sovereignty, noted that the sovereign had power over only the profession of religious belief and utterly lacked the ability to regulate belief itself 5 Leo Pfeffer quite accurately reminds us that the First Amendment "protects the free exercise of religion, a word which surely connotes action." 6

A great majority of cases turn on some aspect of external behavior--a religious practice that is alleged to be burdened. While the distinction between a belief and a practice is unsatisfactory, it may be useful to distinguish the great bulk of cases in which a person is allegedly penalized for acting as required by his religious conscience, from those few cases in which the belief

-76-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Interpreting the Free Exercise of Religion: The Constitution and American Pluralism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1- The Search for Principles 11
  • 2- Definitions of Religion Under The Free Exercise Clause 46
  • 3- Burdens to Religious Beliefs 76
  • 4- The Nature of Religious Exercises 98
  • CONCLUSIONS 119
  • 5- The Autonomy of Religious Institutions 121
  • 6- Threats to Religious Identity 168
  • 7- Burdens on Religious Exercise 182
  • 8- Accommodating, Exempting, and Balancing: Religious Freedom and the Political Process 204
  • 9- The Pluralist Theory of Free Exercise 228
  • Conclusion 246
  • Notes 247
  • CHAPTER 9 285
  • Index 289
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 294

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.