Know Your Legal Rights
Article ID: 1975
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 6,985
Times Read: 27,642
Posted: March 16th. 1997
Times Viewed: 27,642
Pagan anti-defamation organizations are springing up everywhere. But each individual Witch, Wiccan or Pagan should have a working knowledge of their fundamental rights and avenue to legal recourse. Here are some of the basics:
FREE EXERCISE OF RELIGION GUARANTEED-
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides:
"Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...."
Free exercise of religion is protected in the United States provided that the belief is sincerely held and is a religious belief of any kind. The belief or practice need not be a part of an organized religion or sect, and need not include a belief in any Supreme Deity. Individualistic, Indigenous, polytheistic, agnostic and atheistic beliefs all fall under the protection of law.
Cases: Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah, 113S.Ct. 2217 (1993)
Frazee v. Illinois Dept. of Employment Security , 489 U.S. 829 (1989)
Callahan v. Woods, 658 f. 2d.679 (9th Cir. 1981)
Courts cannot judge validity of any belief or doctrine;
U.S. v. Ballard, 322 U.S. 78 (1944)
Free exercise of religious belief is protected by the First Amendment from intentional encroachment under all circumstances. The government cannot single out a particular religious belief or religion for special burdens or restrictions unless it can prove a compelling reason for doing so. This "compelling reason" must be grave concerns for the social welfare of society. Even if "compelling reasons" are proven, the government still must use the least amount of encroachment possible.
Cases: Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah (cited above)
Employment Division, Dept. of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990)
Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963)
Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000bb (1993)
Lawson v. Dugger, 844 F. Supp. 1538 (S.D. Fla, 1994)
The Non-Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits the official sponsorship of, support of, or active involvement in, religious activity. This limits interference or undue influence by federal, state and local governments or their agents on the validity of any religious belief or religion. this recognizes the right of an individual to be free from laws and government decisions which aid one religion, all religions or prefer one religion over another.
Walz v. Tax Commission, 397 U.S. 1 (1947)
Everson v. Board of education, 330 U.S. 1 (1047)
Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971)
Larson v. Valente, 456 U.S. 228 (1982)
FREEDOM FROM RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION-
The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:
"No state shall...deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
The Fourteenth Amendment protects against discrimination by state and local governments on the basis of religious beliefs, as well as gender or ethnicity.
Cases: Police dept. of Chicago v. Mosley, 408 U.S. 92 (1972)
Also see under RFRA 1993-
Campos v. Coughlin, 854 F. Supp. 194 (S.D.N.Y. 1994)
Western Presbyterian Church v. Board of Zoning Adjustment of District of Columbia, 849 F. Supp. 77 (D.D.C. 1994)
Additional protection is provided by-
The Civil Rights Act of 1871
1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act (1978)
In conclusion: The United States is a multi-faith society; freedom of religion is constitutionally guaranteed. No religion has official support or preference from any governmental entity or any of its agents. Discrimination on the basis of religious preference is illegal.
Important Note: The Witches' Voice Inc. does not offer legal advice nor are we qualified to do so. This document does not constitute legal advice but is intended to be used in conjunction with the legal services of an attorney licensed to practice in your state. This document can be copied and distributed to your lawyer should you decide that you need the services of one.
Location: Tampa, Florida
Other Articles: Wren has posted 319 additional articles- View them?
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Wren... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)
Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2016 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.
Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.
Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.
Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.
Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
of The World
NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.
All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).