Argumentative Essay On Freedom Of Religion

1000 Words4 Pages
As we have established, freedom of religion is protected by the first amendment. This amendment is divided between two clauses, the Establishment clause, and the Free exercise clause. While the latter allows individuals to exercise freely their religious beliefs, the former prevents the government to impose a federal religion and prevents coercion upon a religious belief. Even though these protections exist in reality they are easily overcome by “compelling government interest”. The first amendment hasn’t been very efficient when facing claims of Native Americans, unsurprisingly this is fully in line with the prior decisions concerning their rights. A problem arises linked with the scope of the freedom of religion clause. As we know it protects religions, the question is then what is considered as a religion for it to be protected by the first amendment? As we have said previously, the courts have a tendency to adopt a Judeo-Christian point of view when determining whether a religion is protected by the first amendment. The question is whether the place given to sacred sites in the Native American beliefs will rather be understood as a cultural use. Since courts don’t protect these lands it seems that they don’t consider it as part of a religious belief, but rather as part of a cultural use, offering monetary damages instead of protecting it, as in US v Sioux Nation of Indians. A reason that may explain the position adopted by the courts may be that Indian beliefs seem to
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