Freedom of Religion and The Free Exercise Clause Self-Quiz











The Free Exercise Clause prohibits the government from interfering with religion:
Choice 1 Except when doing so would cause harm to others.
Choice 2 Even if the interference is entirely unintentional.
Choice 3 Unless doing so serves a legitimate state goal.
Choice 4 All of the above.
A law which unintentionally interferes with the free exercise of some religion will survive a Free Exercise Clause claim:
Choice 1 Always.
Choice 2 If rationally related to a legitimate government purpose.
Choice 3 If it is the least restrictive means of accomplishing a compelling government purpose.
Choice 4 Never.
Southernstate law requires that all persons operating vehicles traveling public roadways attend a state driving course and pass a test. While this does not apply for self-powered vehicles, such as bicycles, it applies to all others. The course includes a mandatory driving portion during which students learn emergency handling in cars provided by the course operators. When the law is passed the Amish community protests, arguing that their horse-drawn carriages should be exempt and that requiring them to attend the course and operate the motor-vehicle conflicts with their religious beliefs. What is the likely result?
Choice 1 Because the law is narrowly drawn and the state interest in roadway safety is compelling the law will be upheld.
Choice 2 Because the law interferes with the Amish and is not the least restrictive means for accomplishing the state goal the law will be struck down.
Choice 3 Because granting an exemption to the Amish would avoid the religious interference and equally well serve the state goal the exemption should be granted.
Choice 4 Following the decision in Employment Div. Dept. of Human Resources v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990) the exemption would likely not be granted.
The Marijuana Ministry is a group holding itself out as a religion whose deity takes the form of marijuana plants. According to its founder, Chris Flaps, “we smoke marijuana to become closer to our god and to remind ourselves of her sweetness.” After being arrested for possession, use, and distribution of marijuana, the Ministry’s founder defends himself by appeal to the Free Exercise Clause and demands that his “church” be granted a limited exemption to the law of general applicability criminalizing marijuana. What is the likely result?
Choice 1 Flaps wins, because for the government to decide which organizations are or are not valid religions would be a violation of the Establishment Clause.
Choice 2 Flaps wins, because granting an exemption here would still allow the state to largely meet the goal behind criminalizing marijuana.
Choice 3 Flaps loses, because the law does not intentionally interfere with religion.
Choice 4 Flaps loses, because the exemption would be difficult to apply, as courts would have to determine whether a particular practice was central to an individual’s religion.


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