Protecting the rights of minority American religions like Sikhism, Native American religions and Islam help protect mainstream or majority religions. Learn more about the cases that help further all religions at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.
Sometimes our listeners ask why we spend so much time discussing cases involving minority American religions, like Sikhs, Native Americans, or Muslims.
The short is answer is that our mission at First Liberty is very simple: we protect religious liberty for all Americans.
But, it’s also historical. If you look at the body of caselaw governing religious liberty, some of the most consequential cases have arisen from minority faiths.
Wisconsin v. Yoder, for instance, debated whether the State of Wisconsin could compel Amish families to send their children to public school against their religious practices.
In the 1980’s, the Supreme Court decided Goldman v. Weinberger examining whether an Air Force regulation violated the First Amendment by prohibiting an airman from wearing his yarmulke.
More recently, in Holt v. Hobbs, the Supreme Court examined whether a corrections system could present a compelling justification for allowing quarter-inch beards, but prohibiting half-inch beards.
And, then there’s the case with the funny name: Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. Hialeah. That case examined whether a city ordinance discriminated against the religion of Santeria by prohibiting ritual animal slaughter.
The bottom line is this: whether it is a mainstream denomination or a minority religion, religious liberty for one is religious liberty for all. And, the loss of religious liberty for one religion is a loss in liberty for everyone.