RFRA & Federal Law
sjamar at LAW.HOWARD.EDU
Fri Jan 17 17:53:35 PST 1997
I think the idea that one can have an established religion and free
exercise is not a hard one to understand in the most part. The problem, it
seems to me, comes up only if the one seeking free exercise objects, on
religious grounds, to any state support of another religion. I might
object on religious grounds to military spending, but cannot thereby
withold taxes. Similarly, a state may establish a church and tax me to
support it and not allow me to withold my tax payments. But I can still
believe and mostly act as I want - I just have limits on what happens with
my money - and that is what society (not anarchy, not extreme libertarian
concepts) means - limits.
One could, it seems to me, quite easily have a situation where there is no
establishment clause and the state directly subsidizes churches and church
activities. Like supporting education for example. Wait just a minute.
Isn't that what happens at Georgetown and most other religiously affiliated
universities? Oh oh. To the barricades comrades!
Without the establishment clause would we be able to make a free exercise
argument against vouchers?
If I had to give up one, I would give up establishment and keep the free
exercise. But I'd just as soon keep both, though in somewhat different
form than they are currently developed in the U.S.
"Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very' ~~ your
editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be." --
Steven D. Jamar
Professor of Law & Dir. Legal Research & Writing Program
Howard University School of Law
2900 Van Ness Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
voice: 202-806-8017 fax: 202-806-8428 email:
sjamar at law.howard.edu
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