Essay about The Bill Of Rights : The American Way Of Life

1300 Words Oct 7th, 2014 6 Pages
The Bill of Rights is an invaluable component to the American way of life. Reevaluated in order to protect individual rights neglected in the Constitution, it is composed of the first ten amendments, the first of which establishes religious freedom. The first amendment states then, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” This means that American citizens hold the right to practice any religious belief and rituals. In addition, the first amendment not only prohibits the United States government from instituting its official religion, but also bans government actions that unfairly favor a religion over another. The United States Supreme Court has dealt with many cases concerning the definition and extent of religious freedom in several landmark cases.
Reynolds v. United States was the first case concentrated on the freedom of religion. A Mormon and Utah resident, George Reynolds married one woman while he was still married to another. Federal law declared, “Every person having a husband or wife living, who marries another, whether married or single, in a Territory, or other place over which the United States have exclusive jurisdiction, is guilty of bigamy…” Reynolds did not deny that he had broken the law. However, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint, he argued the law was unlawful in that it infringed his right to religious freedom. He claimed his religion required that he…

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