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.
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