I have said here and elsewhere before that some court cases having to do with the free exercise of religion are so obvious that they never should have gotten to court in the first place.
Most of these have to do with units of government promoting one religion over another.
But there are some court cases in which reasonable people can, in good faith (so to speak), disagree about how far constitutional protections of religion should go before they run into other legitimate claims either of government or of other institutions.
One such case recently was decided by the Texas Supreme Court. In effect, the ruling confirmed the constitutionality (in Texas) of a 1999 law, the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act. That law requires government to show a compelling reason for limiting the rights and privileges of religious institutions.
This particular case involved a zoning matter. And you can read details about it in the story to which I've linked you in the previous paragraph.
I want to raise this matter today simply to say that our judicial system will be wrestling with religious freedom cases for a long time, and although some of them involve obvious abuse of constitutional principles, others are not so easy to figure out. So although there never should be any religious requirement for judges, it would be helpful if people elected and appointed to the bench would be well educated about matters of faith as well as constitutional boundaries.
I frankly don't know what kind of training law schools give students about the place of religion in public life in the United States, but my guess is very little. Do you know anything that would contradict that view?
(The illustration here today is from http://arizona.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/gavel.jpg.)
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HELLO, GOD, IT'S ME, BLOGGER
Lots of people, it turns out, are searching for God on the Internet, ABC News reports, and online evangelists are ready to respond. No surprise there. But not all people who search for God on the Internet are seeking to find either God there or spiritual advice. I'm one who uses "God" as a standard Google news search word to turn up any stories mentioning God that I might want to pass along to you blog readers. And it works. It found the story I've linked you to today. Thanks, God.
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