Religious freedom IN THE NUDE!
Stanley M. Morris
smmorris at RMII.COM
Thu Aug 14 10:25:53 PDT 1997
The President is imposing (proposing?) new workplace free exercise guideline
that, by CNN's morning line, does some of the same things that the RFRA
tried to do. Now if a Christian nudist were to practice that portion of his
faith, do we know enough about the President's proposal (requirement?) to
know how tat would be responded to?
Stan Morris, Atty
136 W.First St.
Cortez, Colorado 81321
smmorris at rmii.com
On 13 August 1997 Eugene Volokh:
> Mark makes an excellent point, but I wonder how far it goes.
>Indeed, many people are religiously troubled -- perhaps feel their
>religious beliefs "burdened" -- by having to see nude people as they
>walk down the street. But how does one take this into account in the
>religious freedom inquiry? I understand that many people are
>religiously troubled by exposure that's much less than nudity
>(e.g., women wearing "immodest" clothing). Likewise, I suppose many
>people are religiously troubled by hearing blasphemy or seeing
>religious symbols that they believe to be blasphemous or heretical.
> Now none of these examples is quite analogous; they involve
>conduct that the government does not regulate (and, as to the second
>example, can't regulate under the Free Speech Clause). And I take it
>that we'd all agree that religious freedom principles don't give
>religious observers the right to demand bans on other people's
>conduct that offends their religious beliefs. The question rather is
>whether an existing ban on conduct -- e.g., a ban on public nudity
>-- can be defended against a religious freedom claim on the grounds
>that the ban is needed to prevent a burden on potential observers'
> This is a tougher question, but it still seems to me the answer
>must be no, at least unless one is willing to accept such objections
>to any exemption claims based on public religious conduct (or at least
>public religious conduct not otherwise protected by the Free Speech
>Clause). And I'm not even sure this could easily be cabined to
>*public* conduct; after all, some religious observers feel burdened
>just by knowing that some behavior that they think is blasphemous is
>going on, even behind closed doors.
> Am I missing something? Is there some principled way of
>recognizing the religious concerns of those who don't want to see
>naked people, without opening the door to similar claims trumping a
>vast range of religious exemption claims?
>Mark Rahdert writes:
>> Unless I missed something (I read the posts quickly), the discussion
>> so far has centered on those whose religious beliefs lead them to remove
>> their clothes. It seems equally plausible to me that there are some in
>> society who, for religious reasons, forbid nudity except in limited
>> circumstances, and forbid the viewing of another person in the nude, again
>> except in limited circumstances. If nudity outside the home is confined to
>> fairly limited vwenues, it is relatively easy for these individuals to
>> follow the precepts of their religion, simply by choosing not to view. But
>> if others are given the right to extend their nudity into many public places
>> where others must, of necessity (or without incurring great personal
>> inconvenience), be present also, it might be nearly impossible for
>> with religious objections to viewing others in the nude to avoid
>> transgressing their beliefs. (And it might be even harder to inculcate
>> children in the proper avoidance behavior). Consider, for example,
>> religiously motivated nudity in a public school classroom, or on a crowded
>> subway, or in court.
>> In Prince v. Massacusetts, Justice Jackson wrote: "I think the
>> limits [of religious freedom] begin to operate whenever activities begin to
>> affect or collide with liberties of others or of the public." In my view,
>> recognition of such limits is not inconsistent with searching judicial
>> review of substantial burdens on religious exercise.
>"Lone bee in the field, Eugene Volokh
> only you know the source of UCLA Law School
> beehive salaries." 405 Hilgard Ave.
> W. Warriner, Corporate Haiku no. 69 L.A., CA 90095
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