General Question

swimswimswim's avatar

What is the meaning of "no" in the first amendment?

Asked by swimswimswim (171points) March 24th, 2009

It reads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…” But what does “no” mean, because there are definantly laws against the mormon practice of polygamy, and certainly you cannot kil.l

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8 Answers

Ivan's avatar

That is the Mormon’s argument. They may have a point. But what does the law against murder have to do with the first amendment?

swimswimswim's avatar

For instance, there was recently a case where a family was found guilty of involentary manslaughter because they refused to take their daughter to a doctor due to their strong religious beliefs in the power of prayer. Needless to say, if the girl had seen a doctor she would still be alive, but they were following their religious belifs. They will still found guilty. Just curious to see what criterion is out there to decide if something is protected under that clause of the first amendment.

ubersiren's avatar

I think the laws prohibiting polygamy were in place before the establishment of Mormonism. Correct me if I’m wrong about that. Federal law isn’t going to change just because some new religion wants to practice it. If some new religion practiced setting retirement homes on fire, the government wouldn’t be required to suddenly protect those people’s rights to do so.

Ivan's avatar

Ok, I get you know. I think the general rule is that we are allowed to practice whatever sort of religious beliefs we wish so long as we are not directly harming people.

elchoopanebre's avatar

No can probably mean yes if you have a good enough lawyer.

DrBill's avatar

Everyone has the right to “life, liberty…” by killing, (or not rendering medical aid when you can) you are violating that persons right to life.

Plural marriage was outlawed before the Mormon religion was founded.

ubersiren's avatar

About the law vs. the denial of medical attention- The law will try to protect its citizens against abuse, first and foremost. The law probably considers that abuse, which, to them, justifies intervening in such decisions.Especially when it’s a minor who isn’t old enough to make his own decisions, or hasn’t been given the opportunity to chose for himself, or who has been indoctrinated and given no education about his options or rights according to the law.

SeventhSense's avatar

Now not know
Basically it’s two fold. It restricts the government from establishing a nationally imposed religion such as was the case in England and assures that the government will not stop people from worshipping as they want. Any religious practice which violates the constitutional rights of others or violates local laws will be challenged. The Mormons basically wandered from state to state because of persecution before settling in Utah.

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