Religious Liberty, Natural Law, and Liberalism
e is a pressing need to reconsider one of the rights protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, the free exercise of religion, and manifestly so ever since the 1879 Supreme Court decision of Reynolds v. United States that upheld the prosecution of Mormons for bigamy in the then territory of Utah. That decision rested upon the spurious distinction between the beliefs and the practices of a religion, ruling that, while the federal government had no authority over religious beliefs, it did over religious practices, even though there may have been no manifest harm to the individual. The objection to that ruling is its justification for state intervention into the life—the practices required by the rules and regulations, or laws—of the self-governing religious association.
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