Summary Of Chapter 11 And 12 Of Religion And The American Constitutional Experiment

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For the readings of the week we read Chapters 11 and 12 of Religion and the American Constitutional Experiment by John Witte, Jr and Joel A. Nichols. Within these chapters Witte and Nichols discuss court cases in which the Supreme Court has made decisions with regards to religion in the public life and religious organizations and the law.
When it comes to portraying religion in the public life, it is very difficult to accommodate everyone’s religion into it since there is a variety of different religions in the United States. Accommodating one religion into the public life would mean attempting to accommodate all of religions. The most the government can do is accommodate the religion they know best. The United States government, for example, …show more content…

For example, sometimes the government has to interfere when it comes to issues regarding religious property disputes, tax exemptions, the funding religious charities, labor and employment, but as to how much the government should do and can do varies from case to case. When it comes to tax exemptions, for example, the government is decide whether to give them to the religious organizations or not. Witte and Nichols state that “tax exemptions of religious organizations are not forbidden by the establishment clause, so long as other similar organizations are also exempt. And taxation of religious organizations is constitutionally permitted under the free exercise clause, so long as similar organizations are taxed as well” (240). In this case, the government decided to give a taxes exemption to a religious organizations only if similar organizations were given similar treatment. When it comes to different issues regarding religious organizations and the law the government has made different decisions regarding each depending on what was needed and did not infringe with the first amendment. As the authors conclude that, “The principle of free exercise of religion is not restricted to individuals. Properly understood, it also extends to religious organizations and entities” (Pg. 247). This is indeed what occurs when issues regarding religious property disputes, tax exemptions, the funding religious charities, labor and employment arise and need governmental assistance in order to be

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