Religious Perspectives and Churches
The pacifism and effort of the Amish and Mennonites to separate themselves
from worldliness have led to a number of important First Amendment legal
Governments must treat atheism like a religion for purposes of the First
Amendment. The establishment clause prohibits the government from favoring
religion over non-religion.
Baptists were the first religious group to adopt separation of church and
state as a fundamental article of faith. They have advocated for worldwide
Many states have convicted Christian Scientists, who espouse healing
through prayer, of neglect and manslaughter; others have granted exemptions
under the First Amendment.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has helped shape the
government-religion relationship through their interpretation of the First
Evangelicals have been involved in Supreme Court cases concerning First
Amendment freedoms, winning such high-profile cases as Burwell v. Hobby
Islam has several unique religious free exercise issues stemming from the
First Amendment; however, the establishment clause has roused little debate.
Perhaps no religious sect has had a greater impact relative to its size on
expanding the First Amendment free exercise of religion than has the
The First Amendment gave Jews the opportunity to exercise their faith
freely. Yet, they have still faced challenges from those who perceive
America as a Christian nation.
At times, U.S. governments have denied First Amendment rights to Native
Americans. Indian religious beliefs have sometimes posed dilemmas for the
application of such freedoms.
The framers of the Constitution would look to the Puritan era in history
for guidance when crafting the First Amendment rights for freedom of
Quakers were early advocates of religious freedom and have been at the
forefront in protecting and ensuring First Amendment religious liberty
rights and other civil liberties.
The religious right movement began in the 1970s after Supreme Court
decisions in First Amendment cases that invalidated public prayer and Bible
readings in public schools.
Roman Catholics have been involved in First Amendment religious liberty
issues as well as controversies surrounding the separation of church and
New religions such as Scientology often pose special problems for the legal
system and the First Amendment. The religion has had run-ins with the
federal government and IRS.
Because of their beliefs, including that Saturday is the Sabbath, members
of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have been plaintiffs in many First
Amendment religious liberty cases.
The lack of a formal creed in Unitarian Universalism has led some critics
to say it lacks religious content and should not be afforded protection
under the First Amendment.
Wicca is a minority Neo-Pagan religion of relatively recent origins that
was recognized as a religion protected under the First Amendment by a
circuit court in 1986.