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POLSC432: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

Unit 5: Civil Liberties: Freedom of Religion   Much of the population of what would become the United States were people fleeing religious persecution. As a result, explicit measures were taken to provide for the protection of religious freedom from government during the founding of the United States. This meant that not only did the Constitution afford people the right to practice whatever religion that they saw fit, but also that the government could not adopt or promote any specific religion. There has been a tremendous amount of controversy surrounding this topic throughout U.S. history. This controversy contributed to varied interpretations of exactly what the framers’ intended in creating measures to protect the freedom of religion. This unit will include material that addresses the history of both religious practice and religious freedom in this country, as well as the current condition of religious freedom. In doing so, significant court cases will be covered.

Unit 5 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 9 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 5.1: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 5.2: 5 hours ☐    Subunit 5.2.1: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 5.2.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 5.2.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 5.2.4: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 5.3: 1 hour

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  - Discuss the historical context of the freedom of religion. - Explain the nature of the Bill of Rights as related to the freedom of religion. - Analyze the landmark court cases dealing with the freedom of religion. - Discuss the potential future of the freedom of religion.

5.1 Historical Context   5.1.1 Fleeing Religious Persecution   - Reading: America.gov: An Outline of U.S. History’s “Early America” Link: America.gov: An Outline of U.S. History’s “Early America” (HTML)  
 
Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. This reading provides background information on religion in the early settlements of the U.S. This material is useful for understanding the context within which the framers of the constitution developed their address of religion. This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.1.2 The First Amendment and Religion   - Reading: Findlaw’s “First Amendment- Religion and Expression” Link: Findlaw’s “First Amendment- Religion and Expression” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the Amendment and then all of the 1st Amendment Annotations dealing directly with religion linked on the page above. All of these links are under the headers An Overview, Establishment of Religion, and Free Exercise of Religion. These links will provide the historical background on the amendment, its development as related to religion, and contemporary applications. This reading should take approximately 2 hours to complete.
 
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5.2 Landmark Court Cases   5.2.1 West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnette   - Reading: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnette Opinion” Link: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “The U.S. Supreme Court’s “West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnette Opinion” (HTML)  
 
Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. This reading provides the official opinion of the court. This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2.2 Engel v. Vitale   - Reading: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “Engel v. Vitale Opinion” Link: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “Engel v. Vitale Opinion” (HTML)  
 
Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. This reading provides the official opinion of the court. This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2.3 Lemon v. Kurtzman   - Reading: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “Lemon v. Kurtzman Opinion” Link: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “Lemon v. Kurtzman Opinion” (HTML)  
 
Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. This reading provides the official opinion of the court. This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

5.2.4 Boerne v. Flores   - Reading: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “City of Boerne v. Flores, Archbishop of San Antonio, et al. Opinion” Link: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “City of Boerne v. Flores, Archbishop of San Antonio, et al. Opinion” (HTML)  
 
Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. This reading provides the official opinion of the court. This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: PBS: Alex McBride’s “Boerne v. Flores (1997)” Link: PBS: Alex McBride’s “Boerne v. Flores (1997)” (HTML)  
     
    Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. Also read the links within the text. This reading provides a basic description of the case that lead to a ruling that Congress could not pass a law that prohibited the states from regulating religious uses of land. This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
     
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5.3 Contemporary Context   5.3.1 Public Opinion and Religious Freedom   - Reading: Directory of Open Access Journals: Journal of the Study of Religions and Ideologies: Lehel Balogh’s “The Public Debate on the Religiosity of the Public Debate of Bioethics in the USA” Link: Directory of Open Access Journals: Journal of the Study of Religions and Ideologies: Lehel Balogh’s “The Public Debate on the Religiosity of the Public Debate of Bioethics in the USA” (PDF)

 Instructions: On the webpage linked above, click on the “Full Text”
icon just above the article listing.  You will be directed to a page
with an abstract for the article and a link for full text. Click the
full text link for a PDF of the article.  Please read the entire
article (9 pages).  This article discusses one way in which religion
and public opinion are having an impact on American society and
science.  It should take about 30 minutes to read.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

5.3.2 Current Legal Issues   - Reading: Directory of Open Access Journals: Christian Perspectives in Education: Samuel J. Smith’s “Navigating Religious Rights of Teachers and Students: Establishment, Accommodation, Neutrality, or Hostility?” Link: Directory of Open Access Journals: Christian Perspectives in Education: Samuel J. Smith’s “Navigating Religious Rights of Teachers and Students: Establishment, Accommodation, Neutrality, or Hostility?”  (PDF)

 Instructions: On the webpage linked above, click on the “Full Text”
icon just above the article listing.  You will be directed to a page
with an abstract for the article and a download link. Click the
download link for a PDF of the article.  Please read the entire
article (11 pages).  This article provides a perspective on how
schools can comply with current law regarding religious freedom.  It
should take about 30 minutes to read.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.