ochanilele (ochanilele) wrote,
ochanilele
ochanilele

COURT TO TACKLE CHURCH-STATE RELATIONS RULINGS


I'm still researching the CLBA court-case; this article appeared in the Orlando Sentinel on October 10, 1992. The more I read the more amazed I am. Common sense never once prevailed in the Florida State Courts.

Ochani

THE ORLANDO SENTINEL -
Saturday, October 10, 1992

Author: Religious News Service

Accessed May 21, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court opened its new term Monday by jumping back into the tangled bramble bush of church-state relations and the sometimes seemingly competing demands of the Constitution's First Amendment.

In announcing 65 cases it will consider during the term that runs until the end of June, the court said it will hear two key cases involving religion. One involves the use of public funds to pay for a sign-language interpreter for a student in a parochial school. The other involves the use of a public school auditorium by an outside religious group.

The two cases join a third case involving the animal sacrifice practices of the Santeria religion that the court already had agreed to hear.

Rulings in the three cases could spell out new standards for the way in which government relates to - and regulates - religion and the extent to which it can support religious practices.

The First Amendment to the Constitution contains two clauses involving religion: the Establishment Clause, forbidding government from setting up a state religion or providing assistance to one religion over another, and the Free Exercise Clause, which bars government from interfering in the practices of religious bodies.

In the handicapped-aid case, Zobrest vs. Catalina Foothills School District, the justices are being asked to decide whether the Constitution permits public financing for a sign-language interpreter to accompany a deaf child to class in a parochial school.

In the other case accepted Monday, as well as the Santeria case, the court will wrestle with the Free Exercise Clause and the limits on governmental interference with religious practice.

This area of church-state law was thrown into turmoil with the High Court 's ruling in 1990 in the so-called ''peyote'' case, Oregon vs. Smith.

In that decision, nearly unanimously condemned by the religious community, the justices held that prohibiting Native Americans from using peyote in their religious rituals does not violate their constitutional right to free exercise of religion.

Of all the court 's recent rulings in the church-state area, none has panicked the religious community as has Smith. In the ruling the court abandoned the historic test that the state must show a ''compelling interest'' before regulating religious practices. Instead, the court established a new standard making it significantly easier for government to justify restrictions on religion.

In the Santeria case, Church of the Lukumi Babalu vs. City of Hialeah, the court must decide whether the city can ban the killing of animals for ritual purposes. Ritual killing of animals such as chickens, is central to followers of Santeria , a Caribbean religion with African roots.

In a case the court will rule on this term, Lamb's Chapel vs. Center Moriches School District, the justices are being asked to decide whether a policy of excluding outside religious groups from using the schools after hours is ''censorship of religious speech.''



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