Saturday, October 13, 2007

Reynolds vs the United States (1879)

In Reynolds vs the United States, a Mormon man challenged the federal law prohibiting polygamy. The Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment absolutely protected religious belief but not necessarily religious conduct. If this were not the case, the court reasoned, human sacrifice for example would have to be allowed where religion required it. Thus the precedent was clearly established that government could control some types of religious conduct.

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