Laws related to religion and morality:
Church-state separation, human rights, school
prayer, compulsory morality,
human sexuality, etc.
Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human
"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
- Don't try to change your religion in some counries. Some countries that have a state religion have laws making you eligible to be executed by the government after a trial, or by your family in an honor killing if you change your religion from the official belief system.
- Don't try to manifest your religious beliefs in practice if it includes the need to discriminate against or to denigrate others. There may be human rights legislation in place that make such treatment a crime.
The essays listed below deal almost exclusively with North American constitutional
Separation of church and state is mandated by the 1st
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Although this phrase is not specifically 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.
13th century U.S. law:
18th century U.S. laws:
20th / 21st century U.S. laws and bills:
* Bill only
Human rights issues, worldwide:
See also statements on religious freedom
and tolerance, in the U.S. and elsewhere.
The text of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights is at: http://www.un.org/
"Thomas", a service of the Library of
Congress, provides federal legislative information online. See: http://thomas.loc.gov/
Last update: 2016_JUL-25