Monday, May 09, 2005

PrawfsBlawg Raises Issues of Protecting Ritual Observance

A discsussion today on PrawfsBlawg raises the question of the extent to which observance of religious ritual is protected by the First Amendment (or by laws that prohibit religious discrimination) if the person's practice of the rituals is based on something other than religious faith or a belief in God.

Perhaps the debate here is a semantic one flowing from the Supreme Court's usual concept of "religion" as a set of beliefs which may support certain practices. Some traditions might instead view religion primarily as a pattern of obligatory ritual practices that may, optimally, lead to belief in a Supreme Being.