Under Scalia's test, religious belief but not religious exercise is protected. For example, the exercise of one's religious conscience could be limited in the interests of a general law promoting some government-prescribed sense of morality or a law designed to further a newly formed equality right. Government prescribed morality and equality would trump the sacred right of religious conscience.
Many states have responded to the Court's disregard of religious conscience by restoring a test that more nearly approximates Madison's views. This move is to be applauded. It is time for all states and the federal government to adopt constitutional provisions that will protect the full and free exercise of religious conscience.
Rodney K. Smith is president of Southern Virginia University.
- My view: History lesson — 'Taking back'...
- In our opinion: Boy Scouts of America and...
- John Florez: Education — Big government...
- In our opinion: With caucus compromise, Utah...
- Letter: A 'dying' document
- In our opinion: Prison relocation iffy
- Letter: Religious freedom
- Was Hillary right to compare Putin to Hitler?
- Letter: Minimum Wage insufficient 67
- Has Obama's foreign policy emboldened... 62
- Jay Evensen: Obama could use a dose of... 60
- Letter: Religious freedom 53
- In our opinion: Boy Scouts of America... 32
- Sen. Ted Cruz opens 2014 CPAC with... 30
- Was Hillary right to compare Putin to... 30
- Senate defeats Obama in Justice nod 21