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Church & State - Unusual Religious Beliefs & Practices & Aca

Church & State - Unusual Religious Beliefs & Practices & Aca

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Published by: Sui on Aug 10, 2008
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consti part 11: unusual religious beliefs and practices & academic freedom
Respondents, members of the Old Order Amish religionand the Conservative Amish Mennonite Church, wereconvicted of violating Wisconsin's compulsory school-attendance law (which requires a child's schoolattendance until age 16) by declining to send theirchildren to public or private school after they hadgraduated from the eighth grade. The evidence showedthat the Amish provide continuing informal vocationaleducation to their children designed to prepare them forlife in the rural Amish community (children ages 14 and15). The evidence also showed that respondentssincerely believed that high school attendance wascontrary to the Amish religion and way of life and thatthey would endanger their own salvation and that of their children by complying with the law.
WON the compulsory-attendance law violated theirrights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
(state supreme court muna total the US SCupheld their decision naman)
their children's attendance at high school, publicor private, was contrary to the Amish religionand way of life. It poses danger of the censure of the church community and endanger their ownsalvation and that of their children. Thesereligious belief were held to be sincere. Expert witnesses (scholars on religion) testified that thisconcept of life aloof from the world and its valuesis central to their faith. Amish objection toformal education beyond the eighth grade isfirmly grounded in these central religiousconcepts.
Formal high school education beyond the eighthgrade is contrary to Amish beliefs because ittakes them away from their community,physically and emotionally. During this period,the children must acquire skills needed toperform the adult role of an Amish farmer orhousewife. And, at this time in life, the Amishchild must also grow in his faith and hisrelationship to the Amish community.(eto US SC ratio na)1. The State's interest in universal education isnot totally free from a balancing process when itimpinges on other fundamental rights, such asthose specifically protected by the Free ExerciseClause of the First Amendment and thetraditional interest of parents with respect to thereligious upbringing of their children.In applying strict scrutiny, it was not shown thatthere is a state interest of sufficient magnitudeto override the interest claiming protectionunder the Free Exercise Clause. Fundamentalright to religion is protected, sometimes even atthe expense of other interests of admittedly highsocial importance.
Only those interests of the highest order and those not otherwise served can overbalance legitimate claims to the free exercise of religion.
2. Respondents have amply supported theirclaim that enforcement of the compulsory formaleducation requirement after the eighth grade would gravely endanger if not destroy the freeexercise of their religious beliefs. It wasnecessary for the court to determine whether theAmish religious faith and their mode of life are,as they claim, inseparable and interdependentnot merely philosophical nor personal. In thiscase, the Old Order Amish daily life andreligious practice stem from their faith is shownby the fact that it is in response to their literalinterpretation of the Biblical injunction from theEpistle of Paul to the Romans, "be notconformed to this world . . . ." This command isfundamental to the Amish faith. This virtuallydetermines their entire way of life. Values andprograms of the modern secondary school are insharp conflict with the fundamental mode of lifemandated by the Amish religion. Wisconsin lawcontravenes the basic religious tenets andpractice of the Amish faith, both as to the parentand the child. Furthermore, Wisconsin lawaffirmatively compels them, under threat of criminal sanction, to perform acts undeniably atodds with fundamental tenets of their religiousbeliefs. The compulsory-attendance law carries with it precisely the kind of objective danger tothe free exercise of religion that the FirstAmendment was designed to prevent.3. Aided by a history of three centuries as anidentifiable religious sect and a long history as asuccessful and self-sufficient segment of American society, the Amish have demonstratedthe sincerity of their religious beliefs, theinterrelationship of belief with their mode of life,the vital role that belief and daily conduct playin the continuing survival of Old Order Amishcommunities, and the hazards presented by theState's enforcement of a statute generally validas to others. Beyond this, they have carried thedifficult burden of demonstrating the adequacyof their alternative mode of continuing informalvocational education in terms of the overallinterests that the State relies on in support of itsprogram of compulsory high school education.In light of this showing, and weighing theminimal difference between what the State would require and what the Amish alreadyaccept, it was incumbent on the State to show with more particularity how its admittedlystrong interest in compulsory education wouldbe adversely affected by granting an exemptionto the Amish.
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consti part 11: unusual religious beliefs and practices & academic freedom
It is true that activities of individuals, even whenreligiously based, are often subject to regulationby the States in the exercise of police power butreligiously grounded conduct is protected by theFree Exercise Clause of the 1
Amendment.Re discrimination:
A regulation neutral on its face may, in its application, nonetheless offend the constitutional requirement for governmentaneutrality if it unduly burdens the free exercise of religion.
Some degree of education is necessary toprepare citizens to participate effectively andintelligently in our open political system if we areto preserve freedom and independence. However,the evidence adduced by the Amish in this caseis persuasively to the effect that an additionalone or two years of formal high school for Amishchildren in place of their long-establishedprogram of informal vocational education woulddo little to serve those interests. Separatedagrarian community is the keystone of theAmish faith. That they would become burden tosociety should they leave the community and join the mainstream world with educationalshortcomings is highly speculative.4. The State's claim that it is empowered, asparens patriae, to extend the benefit of secondary education to children regardless of the wishes of their parents cannot be sustainedagainst a free exercise claim of the naturerevealed by this record, for the Amish haveintroduced convincing evidence thataccommodating their religious objections byforgoing one or two additional years of compulsory education will not impair thephysical or mental health of the child, or resultin an inability to be self-supporting or todischarge the duties and responsibilities of citizenship, or in any other way materiallydetract from the welfare of society. The dissent argues that a child who expresses adesire to attend public high school in conflict with the wishes of his parents should not beprevented from doing so. There is no reason forthe Court to consider that point since it is notan issue in the case. The State has at no pointtried this case on the theory that respondents were preventing their children from attendingschool against their expressed desires. Parentshave a right to direct the religious up-bringing of their children which may be subject to limitation] if it appears that parental decisions will jeopardize the health or safety of the child, orhave a potential for significant social burdens.But in this case, the Amish have introducedpersuasive evidence undermining the argumentsthe State has advanced to support its claims interms of the welfare of the child and society as a whole. we cannot accept a parens patriae claimof such all-encompassing scope and with suchsweeping potential for broad and unforeseeableapplication as that urged by the State.(overinclusive)
Respondents, Edna W. Ballard and DonaldBallard were convicted of using and conspiringto use the mails to defraud.
 The indictment was in twelve counts. It chargeda scheme to defraud by organizing andpromoting the I Am movement through the useof the mails. The charge was that certaindesignated corporations were formed, literaturedistributed and sold, funds solicited, andmemberships in the I Am movement sought 'bymeans of false and fraudulent representations,pretenses and promises'
 That the words of 'ascended masters'and the words of the alleged divineentity, Saint Germain, would betransmitted to mankind through themedium of the said Guy W. Ballard,Edna W. Ballard, and Donald Ballardthrough their high spiritual attainmentand righteous conduct.
 That the respondent were able to curehundreds of people of diseases classifiedeither curable or incurable.
Each of them, well knew that all of saidaforementioned representations were false anduntrue and were made with the intention on thepart of the defendants, and each of them, tocheat, wrong, and defraud persons intended tobe defrauded, and to obtain from personsintended to be defrauded by the defendants,money, property, and other things of value andto convert the same to the use and the benefit of the defendants, and each of them.
There was a demurrer and a motion toquash each of which asserted among otherthings that the indictment attacked the religiousbeliefs of respondents and sought to restrict thefree exercise of their religion in violation of theConstitution of the United States.
Lower Court:
Did not want to rule on the truthor validity of the religious claims made by therespondents but rather limited the scope of thecase to this issue:
WON these defendantshonestly and in good faith believe thosethings? If they did, they should be acquitted.I cannot make it any clearer than that”
'If these defendants did not believe thosethings, they did not believe that Jesus
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consti part 11: unusual religious beliefs and practices & academic freedom
came down and dictated, the juryshould find them guilty.
 The Lower court convicted the respondents. Thelatter, initially acquiesced to the verdict but soonfiled for a motion for retrial since the withdrawalof the issue of truth and verity would runcontrary to the nature of the indictment itself.
“'it was necessary to prove that theyschemed to make some, at least, of the(eighteen) representations * * * and thatsome, at least, of the representations whichthey schemed to make were false”
Court of Appeals reversed the decision andgranted a new trial, with one judge dissenting.
Amendment precluded the courtfrom judging upon the truth, verity, and validityof the beliefs of the respondent.Yes, decision of the Court of Appeals reversed.
Misrepresentations ascertained by theSupreme Court:
(1) A portion of the scheme as to healing which we have already quoted and which alleged that respondents 'had infact cured either by the activity of one,either, or all of said persons, hundredsof persons afflicted with diseases andailments';
(2) The portion of the scheme relating tocertain religious experiences describedin certain books (Unveiled Mysteries and The Magic Presence) and concerning which the indictment alleged 'that thedefendants represented that Guy W.Ballard, Edna W. Ballard, and DonaldBallard actually encountered theexperiences pertaining to each of theirsaid names as related and set forth insaid books, whereas in truth and in factnone of said persons did encounter theexperiences';
(3) The part of the scheme concerningphonograph records sold by respondentson representations that they wouldbestow on purchasers 'great blessingsand rewards in their aim to achievesalvation' whereas respondents 'wellknew that said * * * records weremanmade and had no ability to aid inachieving salvation.'
 The United States contends that respondentsacquiesced in the withdrawal from the jury of the truth of their religious doctrines or beliefsand that their consent bars them from insistingon a different course once that one turned out tobe unsuccessful
 Johnson v. United States, 318 U.S. 189, 63 S.Ct. 549, 87 L.Ed. 704.That casestands for the proposition that, apartfrom situations involving an unfair trial,an appellate court will not grant a newtrial to a defendant on the ground of improper introduction of evidence orimproper comment by the prosecutor, where the defendant acquiesced in thatcourse and made no objection to it. Infairness to respondents that principlecannot be applied here
Supreme court: 
Ruled that Johnson v. UnitedStates cannot be applied in the case at bar. Thereal objection of respondents is not that thetruth of their religious doctrines or beliefsshould have been submitted to the jury. Theirdemurrer and motion to quash made clear theirposition that that issue should be withheld fromthe jury on the basis of the First Amendment.
We do not agree that the truth or verityof respondents' religious doctrines orbeliefs should have been submitted tothe jury. Whatever this particularindictment might require, the FirstAmendment precludes such a course, asthe United States seems to concede.
 The First Amendment has a dual aspect.It not only 'forestalls compulsion by lawof the acceptance of any creed or thepractice of any form of worship' but also'safeguards the free exercise of thechosen form of religion.'Cantwell v. State of Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296, 303, 60 S.Ct. 900, 903, 84 L.Ed. 1213, 128 A.L.R. 1352.
'Thus the Amendment embraces twoconcepts,--freedom to believe andfreedom to act. The first is absolute but,in the nature of things, the secondcannot be.' Freedom of thought, whichincludes freedom of religious belief, isbasic in a society of free men
 The First Amendment does not selectany one group or any one type of religionfor preferred treatment. It puts them allin that position.
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