The government enforces different religions to obtain equal treatment and rights, while the public has the responsibility to accept multiple cultures as they coincide with people's religious views. American citizens have the right to freedom of religion, press, speech, and assembly, but this is from the governments point of view. Does this mean that people have responsibility as an American citizen to abide by these rights? Just because The Bill of Rights says that everyone has the freedom of religion, do they really? In todays society, people are pushed to conform to ‘social normalities’ so that they can fit in. Even though people have the right to freedom or religion, but the general public says differently.
The Bill of Rights states the rights of an american citizen, Article 1 states, “ Article 1-Freedom of speech, Press, Religion and Petition. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (The Avalon Project). Therefore, the government can not show any favorites or any dislike for any religion, people have the right to believe what they want to believe. 78.4% of the adult American human population was/is Christian, 1.7% of those being Mormon. In the Reynolds v. United States case, Reynolds was charged with criminal offence because he had more than one wife at the same time.
Upon this proof he asked the court to instruct the jury that if they found from the evidence that he 'was married as [98 U.S. 145, 162] charged-if he was married-in pursuance of and in conformity with what he believed at the time to be a religious duty, that the verdict must be not guilty." This request was refused, and the court did charge 'that there must have been a criminal intent, but that if the defendant, under the influence of a religious belief that it was right,-under an inspiration, if you please, that it was right,-deliberately married a second time, having a first wife living, the want of consciousness of evil intent-the want of understanding on his part that he was committing a crime-did not excuse him; but the law inexorably in such case implies the criminal intent.' (Reynolds v. United States)
Polygamy is, “the practice or condition of having more than one spouse, especially wife, at one time.” (Dictionary.com). If polygamy is part of the Mormon religion, shouldn’t people who practice this faith be able to do what they believe? According to the U.S. government, no. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 states that “Government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection. Government may substantially burden a person's exercise of religion only if it determines that application of the burden to the...