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Laws related to religion and morality:

Church-state separation, Human rights,
compulsory morality, human sexuality, etc. 

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bullet"Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance." Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The essays listed below deal almost exclusively with North American constitutional law, and international, federal, state/provincial laws, and local laws that are related to religion.

Separation of church and state is mandated by the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Although this phrase is not mentioned in the Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the 1st Amendment as requiring such separation.

A similar principle has evolved largely through popular custom in Canada.

The result of this separation, in our opinion, has been a vigorous religious life coupled with a relative lack of religious persecution. Many countries have traditionally had closer links between state and religion. This has led (and continues to lead) to serious persecution of minority religions in many areas of the world. 



Sampling of U.S., Canadian, other country's, and international laws, covenants, and constitutional protections of freedom of religion

13th century U.S. law:


The termination of America's oldest freedom: habeas corpus

18th century U.S. laws:

bulletReligious Discrimination in Early America
bullet1791 The First Amendment of the US Constitution
bullet1988 Williamsburg Charter on the First Amendment
bullet1786 Virginia's "Act for Establishing Religious Freedom"
bullet1777 Thomas Jefferson's bill for religious freedom in Virginia

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20th / 21st century U.S. laws and bills:

bulletFederal abortion laws:
bulletLaws restricting abortion
bulletParental notification and consent laws
bulletInterstate travel to abortion clinics
bulletThe "FACE" law
bulletUse of the RICO laws against pro-life groups
bulletThe "Born-alive Infants Protection Act"
bulletOther federal laws:
bulletReligious freedom and liberty (RFRA, RLPA, RLUIPA)
bulletWorkplace Religious Freedom Act *
bulletAnti-Genocide law (Proxmire Act)
bulletLaws restricting Internet content: (CPOA, CIPA, KIDS.US)
bulletWhy we opposed the Communications Decency Amendment
bulletLaws oppressing or protecting homosexuals
bulletBill S. 1 of the 110th Congress to control paid stimulation of grassroots lobbying
bulletState laws:
bulletReligious discrimination in state constitutions
bulletCan Atheists be excluded from "an office or public trust?" "Torcaso v. Watkins"
bulletCriminalization of homosexual behavior
bulletDivination in North Carolina
bulletRitual sacrifice of animals in Florida and Texas
bulletSafe haven laws for abandoned newborns
bulletSex offenders: retributive justice may increase danger to society
bulletOther items:
bullet"God" and "Christianity" in the constitution of the European Union
bulletCongressional resolutions acknowledging American Muslims
bulletRecognizing religious holidays in Massachusetts
bulletReligious discrimination in the U.S. Postal Service
bulletHow legislators decide how to vote on bills with moral/ethical content
bulletOklahoma Republicans' resolution on morality, "debauchery" etc.

* Bill only

Church-state separation issues:

bulletThe "Wall of Separation" between church & state, and the Istook "Religious Freedom" Constitutional Amendment
bulletGuaranteeing personal religious freedom in the U.S.

bulletPetition to regain and preserve religious freedom

bulletRecent laws & court rulings affecting:
bulletPublic Schools and libraries:
bulletPrayer and other religious speech: (Praying, moment of silence, position of political parties, misunderstandings about school prayer, prayers at sports events, prayers at graduation, teaching about religion, renting school facilities, student clothing, student freedom of speech, etc)
bulletEqual Access Act regarding student clubs

bulletNon-profit groups:
bulletPolitical activities by churches & other non-profit groups

bulletState, and municipal government issues:
bulletReligious holidays
bulletReligious symbols in state & municipal displays, crests, mottos, logos, etc.
bullet Prayer at municipal and county council meetings
bulletReligious animal sacrifice in Florida
bulletMisc. court rulings
bulletChristian memorial crosses beside highways

bulletGovernment funding of religious groups:
bulletGovernment vouchers for religious schools
bulletCharitable choice programs

bulletOther items:
bulletReligious programming on TV
bulletHarry Potter: church/state and library censorship issues
bulletOrganizing religious and other clubs in public schools
bulletThe Ten Commandments:
bulletPosting them in courts, schools etc. 
bulletDetailed analysis of the text: what they really say.
bulletRecent news items
bulletGovernment mottos, pledges, and oaths in the U.S.:
bulletThe National Mottos:
bulletHistory and constitutionality of the  motto
bulletBasis, suitability and proposed uses
bulletPledge of Allegiance
bulletState mottos
bulletMunicipal government's symbols
bullet"So help me God" in court swearing-in ceremonies
bulletChurch/state separation issues
bullet'Witchcraft" in the Criminal Code of Canada
bulletGovernment interaction with religion

Government makeup and policy:

bulletReligious policy of the incoming U.S. President & Congress, 2000 to 2003
bullet Moral and religious aspects of the 2004 presidential election
bulletMoral aspects of the 2006 budget and state of the nation speech
bulletReligious aspects of the 2006 mid-term elections
bulletReligious aspects of the year 2008 presidential elections

Human rights issues, worldwide:

bulletLaws restricting hate speech
bulletThe 50th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
bulletUnited Nations' Declarations on Religious Intolerance
bulletUN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
bulletGovernment oppression of religion in Europe (1999)
bulletHuman rights in oppressive regimes
bulletProposed anti-discrimination law in New South Wales, Australia
bulletGenocides & mass crimes against humanity - often religion based
bulletHuman rights defined, denied and restored: State sovereignty vs. individual human rights

Other items:

bulletHow judges and justices interpret constitutions and laws: Two main methods
bulletImpact of future appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court
bulletFilibustering in the U.S. Senate
bulletCopyright theft from our web site
bulletInformation on bills before Congress, contacting your senators or representative, etc.
bulletLegal aspects of faith healing
bulletThe American "Family Tree" of the National Constitution Center
bulletTaking the Congressional oath of office: religious aspects

See also statements on religious freedom and tolerance, in the U.S. and elsewhere.

External Links:


The text of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights is at:


"Thomas", a service of the Library of Congress, provides federal legislative information online. See: 

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Last update: 2011-JUL-19

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