As of the year 2015, we are grateful that Congress has not attempted to create a national church for Protestants, a national Temple for Orthodox Christians or a national mosque. So far so good, but as we read the remainder of the Right, we must recall that there are limits and conditions on our freedoms, including speech. Patrons are not free to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theatre if there is no fire. Speech that is truthful, but dangerous is protected, but speech that is untruthful and dangerous is not protected.
Not being a legal scholar, I presume that “free exercise thereof” allows religious services in a specified building and possibly recruiting, fundraising or evangelization. There are limits to this exercise of religion, as human sacrifice is frowned upon. We note that displaying the “Ten Commandments” does not establish a religion, as no religion could be based on them, since their adherence do not constitute religious activity; whereas displaying all 616 Jewish laws could be interpreted as promoting a religion. Nor does such a display promote one branch of Judaism over any other branch of Judaism. Therefore, strictly understood, the display of the “Ten Commandments” is Constitutional. If one wanted to be uber conservative in one’s interpretation, one could argue that Judaism and Christianity have already been established long ago in foreign lands, so it would be impossible to establish them. It should be noted that only Congress, not the states, can not establish a religion or promote the exercise of religion, so if Maryland wants to adopt Roman Catholicism as their state religion, they are free to do so.
Having been bitten by the SCOTUS bug last week, I feel that I am possessed by “procedure and precedence”. It does not take a great wit or a philologist to understand that the exercise of religion can only happen with or through rituals or religious forms. These religious rituals are usually associated with buildings dedicated to this purpose, but these could occur anywhere: in the home, in the woods and in catacombs. The exercise of religion can not take place by such activities as going door to door and discussing theological opinions. The former is not religion, the later is freedom of speech.
I have previously written that western Christianity is a diagnosed illness based on the definitions and long established authority of modern psychology. We note that the longer the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual remains unchallenged by Christians (first edition, 1952), the more likely that the handbook will become almost impossible to alter or remove the criteria that diagnose Christianity as a mental illness. Since there are limits to “free speech”, we can envision a scenario where, through the long established, undisputed and uncriticized criteria of psychology, that certain behaviors will be no longer be protected as the free exercise of religion and will be denied public expression.
In our thought exercise, we can envision an individual church, that is, its leader publicly standing against certain behavior or behaviors. Because this “outspokenness” in public can not be the free exercise of religion by definition, but “Behavioral Science” or “Behavioral Modification”, the individual will be censured by various licensing organizations. It is within the realm of possibility that this church, if it does not distance itself from an unlicensed individual who is practicing “behavior modification”, could lose its tax exempt status.
The final third of the Bill states: “nor shall the rights of Conscience be infringed” which is clear and straightforward. Of course, if it could be demonstrated that certain “rights of Conscience”, that is, certain rights are behavioral only and be shown to be “psychological aberrations”, then we will have a different understanding of this “right” than we have at present.
The precedent for understanding rights and some limits of these rights have been established, while other limits have yet to be established.
We conclude that if the “right of conscience” is true and dangerous, protection is guaranteed. However, if the “right of conscience” is false and dangerous, it will, as a matter of law, be denied public expression.
It is so predicted.