By C. Barner-Barry
This booklet explores the felony bias within the usa opposed to Paganism and different non-Christian religions. regardless of being some of the most religiously varied nations on the earth, the U.S. criminal process constructed while the inhabitants was once predominantly Christian. equipped into the legislation is the tacit assumption that each one religions and non secular practices resemble Christianity. utilizing the Pagans as a case learn, Barner-Barry indicates how their reports exhibit that either the legislation affecting nondominant religions and the judiciary that translates this legislations are considerably biased in prefer of the dominant faith, Christianity. This creates criminal difficulties, in addition to difficulties of intolerance, for religions with considerably assorted practices. certain recognition is given to a chain of superb courtroom judgements reading the liberty of faith Clause when it comes to neutrality and reading the institution Clause loosely and its impression on nondominant religions within the US.
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Additional info for Contemporary Paganism: Minority Religions in a Majoritarian America
Religious activity that cannot be seen as some sort of protected speech can usually be seen as protected association, particularly under the emerging right of expressive association. All of these theories remain to be tested in the court system, however, and this leaves minority religions in a state of uncertainty with regard to their legal rights and the extent to which the courts will be a recourse when their religious practices are threatened by laws that are facially neutral. the historical and legal context / 23 The Legal Status of Emerging and Minority Religions Currently, persons who practice emerging or minority religions can be assured of little protection under the Free Exercise Clause, unless the law harming them has clearly and unequivocally targeted their particular religion.
Even if the legislative process was to be negotiated successfully, he is pessimistic about the future of such laws: “The dangers associated with religious liberty legislation do not end after initial enactment. ” He concludes that “[F]irst and inevitably, unpopular religions are those most vulnerable to legislative undoing of their judicial victories” (584). ” His advice to legislators? “[J]ust say no” (593). g. Volokh, 1999). Daniel O. Conkle (1999, 495), however, while his “first preference would be for the Supreme Court to overrule Smith and to develop a vigorous interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause—an interpretation that would protect religious liberty throughout the nation”—does see some virtue in using the states as laboratories for experimentation in defining religious liberty in new and creative ways.
Others are open about their beliefs in some situations and secretive in others. ” At the forefront of this trend has been a small group of Pagan leaders who, recognizing the advantages of educating the general public about Paganism, have become more and more willing to make themselves available to the media, to hold seasonal rituals that are open to the public and to write books and articles explaining more fully the nature and basic characteristics of Paganism. There has also been more scholarly research about Pagans, including historical and anthropological studies involving surveys, interviews, and the observation of worship practices.