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Church and State - Free Exercise Clause

Church and State - Free Exercise Clause

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Published by: Sui on Aug 10, 2008
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consti part 10: free exercise clause
the plaintiff is a foreign, non-stock, non-profitreligious, missionary corporation duly registeredand doing business in the Philippines throughits Philippines agency established in Novemberof 1898
the defendant appellee is a municipalcorporation with powers that are to beexcercised in conformity with the provisions of R.A No. 409, known as the revised charter of thecity of manila
the plaintiffs agency has been distributing andselling bibles and gospel porionms thereothroughout the Philippines
the acting city treasurer nformed plaintiff that it was conducting business of generalmerchandise, without providing itself with thenecessary mayors permit and municipal license,in violation of various ordinances, and asked theplaintiff to secure within 3 days, thecorresponding license and fees, together withcompromise covering the period from the 4
quarter of 1945 to the 2
quarter of 1953 in thesum of Php 5,821
plaintiff paid the sum and acquired the licensefees but at the same time filed a complaint to thecourts
plaintiff was able to show that they were exemptfrom real estate taxes; and that it was neverrequired to pay any municipal licence or atx feebefore the war, nor does the American biblesociety in the U.S pay license fee or sales tax forthe sale of the bible.
however a witness for the appellees was able toprove that the American bibler society in factdoes profit from the sale of the Bible.
(1) whether or not the ordinances of the City of Manila,Nos. 3000, as amended, and 2529, 3028 and 3364, areconstitutional and valid?.YES!!!(2) whether said ordinances are inapplicable, invalid orunconstitutional if applied to the alleged business of distribution and sale of bibles to the people of thePhilippines by a religious corporation like the AmericanBible Society? Sayang pero YES invalid!
*The only essential difference that We findbetween these two provisions that may have any bearingon the case at bar, is that while subsection (m-2)prescribes that the combined total tax of any dealer ormanufacturer, or both, enumerated under subsections(m-1) and (m- 2), whether dealing in one or all of thearticles mentioned therein, shall not be in excess of P500per annum, the corresponding section 18, subsection (o)of Republic Act No. 409, does not contain any limitationas to the amount of tax or license fee that the retaildealer has to pay per annum. Hence, and in accordance with the weight of the authorities above referred to thatmaintain that "all rights and liabilities which haveaccrued under the original statute are preserved andmay be enforced, since the reenactment neutralizes therepeal, therefore continuing the law in force withoutinterruption", We hold that the questioned ordinances of the City of Manila are still in force and effect.*The constitutional guaranty of the free exerciseand enjoyment of religious profession and worshipcarries with it the right to disseminate religiousinformation. Any restraint of such right can only be justified like other restraints of freedom of expression onthe grounds that there is a clear and present danger of any substantive evil which the State has the right toprevent". (Tañada and Fernando on the Constitution of the Philippines, Vol. I, 4th ed., p. 297). In the case at barthe license fee herein involved is imposed upon appellantfor its distribution and sale of bibles and other religiousliterature.*The constitutional guaranty of the free exerciseand enjoyment of religious profession and worshipcarries with it the right to disseminate religiousinformation. Any restraint of such right can only be justified like other restraints of freedom of expression onthe grounds that there is a clear and present danger of any substantive evil which the State has the right toprevent". (Tañada and Fernando on the Constitution of the Philippines, Vol. I, 4th ed., p. 297). In the case at barthe license fee herein involved is imposed upon appellantfor its distribution and sale of bibles and other religiousliterature.*(Citing Murdoch vs. Pennsylvania) It is onething to impose a tax on the income or property of apreacher. It is quite another thing to exact a tax fromhim for the privilege of delivering a sermon. The taximposed by the City of Jeannette is a flat license tax,payment of which is a condition of the exercise of theseconstitutional privileges. The power to tax the exercise of a privilege is the power to control or suppress itsenjoyment. . . . Those who can tax the exercise of thisreligious practice can make its exercise so costly as todeprive it of the resources necessary for its maintenance. Those who can tax the privilege of engaging in this formof missionary evangelism can close all its doors to all'those who do not have a full purse. Spreading religiousbeliefs in this ancient and honorable manner would thusbe denied the needy. . . .*It may be true that in the case at bar the priceasked for the bibles and other religious pamphlets wasin some instances a little bit higher than the actual costof the same, but this cannot mean that appellant wasengaged in the business or occupation of selling said"merchandise" for profit. For this reason We believe thatthe provisions of City of Manila Ordinance No. 2529, asamended, cannot be applied to appellant, for in doing soit would impair its free exercise and enjoyment of its
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consti part 10: free exercise clause
religious profession and worship as well as its rights of dissemination of religious beliefs.*Ordinance No. 3000 cannot be consideredunconstitutional, even if applied to plaintiff Society. Butas Ordinance No. 2529 of the City of Manila, asamended, is not applicable to plaintiff-appellant anddefendant-appellee is powerless to license or tax thebusiness of plaintiff Society involved herein for, as statedbefore, it would impair plaintiff's right to the freeexercise and enjoyment of its religious profession and worship, as well as its rights of dissemination of religiousbeliefs, We find that Ordinance No. 3000, as amended, isalso inapplicable to said business, trade or occupation of the plaintiff.Reversed and Remanded(1959)
Montemayor JFACTS:
RA 1265 is a law that makes a flag ceremonycompulsory for schools. The implementing rules(Department Order 8)says that the anthem must beplayed while the flag is raised. It also says that everyonemust salute the flag and no one is to do anything whilethe ceremony is being held. After the flag everyone is torecite the patriotic pledge (panatang makabayan).Petitioners children attending the BuenavistaCommunity School in Uson, Masbate refused to salutethe flag, sing the anthem and recite the pledge. They didnot do so out of religious belief. They are Jehovah'sWitnesses. They followed Exodus 20:4-5 'thou shalt notmake unto thee a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in earthbeneath or that is in the water under the earth. Theyconsider the flag to be an image in this context. Becauseof this they were expelled from the school in Sep 1955.Petitioners thru counsel petitione SecEd that theirchildren be exempt from the law and just be allowed toremain silent and stand at attention. SecEd deniedpetition. Writ of preliminary injunction was petitionedand issued.
WON Dep Order 8 is unconstitutional
Flag salute ceremony is secular and the dep order non-discriminatory Therefore it is constitutional
 The freedom of belief is limitless and boundless but it'sexercise is not. If the belief clashes with law then theformer must yield.What is the nature of the flag? Petitioners maintain thatit is an image but that is not so. It is the symbol of Republic of the Philippines. It is not a religious symbol.Saluting it is not therefore a religious ceremony. Thedetermination whether a ceremony is religious or not isleft to the courts not to any religious group.Petitioners are willing to remain silent and stand duringflag ceremony. Petiotners salute the flag during boyscout activities. Their objection then rests on the singingof anthem and recitation of pledge. The pledge is judgedto be completely secular. It does not even pledgeallegiance to the flag or to the Republic. The anthem isalso secular. It talks about patriotism. It does not speakof resorting to force, military service, or duty to defendthe country. There was no compulsion involved in the enforcement of the flag salute. They were not criminally prosecutedunder a penal sanction. If they chose not to obey thesalute regulation they merely lost the benefits of publiceducation. Take it or leave it.Hamilton vs Univ of California: Apellants were membersof Methodist Episcopal Church who believed that warand preparations for war are gainst God's wishes. Theydid not take required military service training which wasrequirement to graduate. Court said that they were notbeing drafted to attend university. University did notviolate due process when it required the mil service.Minersville School District vs Gobitis: two JehovahsWitness children were expelled from school for refusingto salute flag. Requirement of participation of all pupilsin flag ceremony did not infringe due process. WestVirginia State Board of Education. vs. Barnette:reversed the former decision at a divided court. This court leans towards Gobitis decision. Specialcircumstance of Barnette case was that it expelled thestudents although attendance in schools is mandatoryturnimg them all into truants headed for reformatories.Fortunately, the law requiring compulsory enrollmenthere in the Philippines is so riddled with exceptions andexemptions that there is no crisis if the children didn'tattend school. There is no penal sanction for failing toattend school.Whenever a man enjoys the benefits of society andcommunity life he becomes a member and must give upsome of his rights for the general welfare just likeeverybody else. The practice of religion is subject toreasonable and non-discrimantory regulation by thestate.Prince vs. Commonwealth of Massachusets: SarahPrince (Jehovahs Witness again)was convicted under theChild Labor law because her hiece distributed religious
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consti part 10: free exercise clause
pamphlets. Court said that state can limit control of parent/guardian. The right of practice religion freelydoesnot include liberty to expose child to ill health. This case was decided after Barnette, supra.SecEd was not imposing a religious belief with the flagsalute. It was Merely enforcing a non-discriminatoryregulation applicable to members of all religions. Statecarried out duty to supervise educational institutionsand teach civic duty.Petitioners do not question the right of the school toconduct the flag Salute ceremony but question theattempt to compel them. The trouble of exempting thepetioners is that it would disrupt school discipline anddemoralize the greater student population. There are exemptions for cases of religiious belief like anunderstanding that anti-war religious believers will notbe made to fight but help war effort in other non-combat ways. But that is for the legislature to decide, not thecourts.
decision affirmed. constitutional. writ of preliminaryinjunction dissolved. No costs.March 1, 1993
Ponente: Griño-Aquino, J: 
All the petitioners in these two cases are schoolchildren who are members of Jehovah’s Witnesses who were expelled from their classes by the public schoolauthorities in Cebu for refusing to salute the flag, singthe national anthem and recite the patriotic pledge asrequired by R.A. No. 1265 (July 11, 1955) and by DECSDepartment Order No. 8 (July 21, 1955) which makesthe flag ceremony compulsory in all educationalinstitutions.
Whether or not school children who aremembers of a religious sect known as Jehovah’sWitnesses may be expelled from school (both public andprivate) for refusing, on account of their religious beliefs,to take part in the flag ceremony.
It has been held previously in the case of 
Gerona vs. Secretary of Education (1959)
Under asystem of complete separation between church andstate, the flag is utterly devoid of any religioussignificance and therefore saluting it is not a religiousceremony. The requirement of the flag ceremony, whichseeks to develop reverence for the flag and love of country, etc., is a non-discriminatory school regulationapplicable to students and teachers regardless of theirreligion.While the necessity to develop such respect forthe flag and respect for the country still persists untiltoday, there is recognition that religious freedom is afundamental right which is entitled to the highestpriority and the amplest protection among human rights(Fernando separate opinion in
German vs. Barangan
) Two-fold aspect of religious profession:
Freedom to believe absolute as long asconfined to the realm of thought
Freedom to act on one’s belief subject toregulation where the belief is translated intoexternal acts affecting the public welfarePetitioners contend that while they did notparticipate in the flag ceremony, they did not engage inany disruptive behavior that would offend those whochoose to participate but rather they just quietly stood atattention during the flag ceremony to show respect totheir countrymen.
Therefore, in the absence of a graveand present danger which is the sole justification fora prior restraint on the exercise of religiousfreedom
, according to Teehankee in his dissent in
German vs. Barangan
there is no warrant to justifytheir expulsion.
What petitioners seek is only exemption from theflag ceremony and therefore the virtues (e.g. patriotism,respect for human rights, love of country, etc.) they aresupposed to imbibe from their participation in the flagceremony, they can get in their study of theConstitution, the democaratic way of life and form of government, the history and culture of the Philippines,the life of our heroes, etc. To force a small religious group through the ironhand of the law, to participate in a ceremony thatviolates their religious beliefs, will hardly be conducive tolove of country or respect for duly constituted authorities which are precisely the values the court in Gerona feared will be lost by exempting some members of the Jehovah’sWitnesses to participate in the flag ceremonies.
let it be noted that coerced unity and loyalty even tothe country… is not a goal that is constitutionallyobtainable at the expense of religious liberty. A desirableend cannot be promoted by prohibited means. (Meyer vs.Nebraska)
expulsion of the members will violated their right ascitizens under the Constitution to receive free education which is the duty of the State to protect and promote theright of all citizens to quality education and to makesuch education applicable to all.
in closing, the court hopes that it will not takeanother foreign invasion of our country for ourcountrymen to appreciate and cherish the Philippine flagas what happened during WWII.
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