WHEN DOES THE US CONSTITUTION DRAW THE LINE BETWEEN THE STATE AND RELIGIOUS BELIEF?
WRITTEN BY EDITOR KALAHAN DENG
Freedom of religion in the US means freedom to hold an opinion or belief, but not to the action in violation of social duties or subversive to good order . The American Supreme Court found that while laws can be made to regulate some religious practices. There are no doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect permit every citizen to become a law unto his/herself. Please, look at the Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis who was jailed for defying a federal judge’s order to issue the same sex marriage licenses on religious grounds The Fourteenth Amendment applied the Free Exercise clause to the states while the right to have religious beliefs is absolute; the freedom to act on such beliefs is NOT absolute.
First Amendment means at least this – neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all the religions, or prefer one religion to another. In other words, the civil government interferes only when religious break out into overt acts against peace and good order. In these two sentences is found the true distinction between what properly belongs to the church and what to the state.
The First Amendment clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. The United States Supreme Court ruled that the constitution prohibits states and the federal government from requiring any kind of religious test for public office. Thomas Jefferson wrote with respect to the First Amendment that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only and not opinion.
For that cause, gay marriage is now a constitutional right in the United States of America. The Fourteenth Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out of state.