The First Amendment has two provisions concerning religion: the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. The Establishment clause prohibits the government from 'establishing' a religion. The precise definition of 'establishment' is unclear.
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Historically, it meant prohibiting state-sponsored churches, such as the Church of England. Today, what constitutes an 'establishment of religion' is often governed under the three-part test set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. Under the 'Lemon' test, government can assist religion only if (1) the primary purpose of the assistance is secular, (2) the assistance must neither promote nor inhibit religion, and (3) there is no excessive entanglement between church and state. The Free Exercise Clause protects citizens' right to practice their religion as they please, so long as the practice does not run afoul of a 'public morals' or a 'compelling' governmental interest.
For instance, in Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158 (1944), the Supreme Court held that a state could force the inoculation of children whose parents would not allow such action for religious reasons. The Court held that the state had an overriding interest in protecting public health and safety. Sometimes the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause come into conflict. The federal courts help to resolve such conflicts, with the Supreme Court being the ultimate arbiter. Check out similar cases related to Engel v.
Vitale that deal with religion in schools and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
Contents. Legal and public foundation The addresses the issue of religion in two places: in the, and the Article VI as a condition for holding public office. The First Amendment prohibits the Congress from making a law 'respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof'. This provision was later expanded to state and local governments, through the of the. Colonial precedents The October 10, 1645, charter of, New York, allowed 'liberty of conscience, according to the custom and practice of Holland without molestation or disturbance from any magistrate or ecclesiastical minister.' However, New Amsterdam Director-General issued an edict prohibiting the harboring of Quakers. On December 27, 1657, the inhabitants of Flushing approved a protest known as The.
Citing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a law that sought to strengthen First Amendment protections, the groups also object to even contracting with an insurance company that is.
This contained religious arguments even mentioning freedom for 'Jews, Turks, and Egyptians,' but ended with a forceful declaration that any infringement of the town charter would not be tolerated. Freedom of religion was first applied as a principle in the founding of the colony of Maryland, also founded by the Catholic, in 1634. Fifteen years later (1649), an enactment of religious liberty, the, drafted by Lord Baltimore, provided: 'No person or persons.
Shall from henceforth be any waies troubled, molested or discountenanced for or in respect of his or her religion nor in the free exercise thereof.' The Maryland Toleration Act was repealed with the assistance of Protestant assemblymen and a new law barring Catholics from openly practicing their religion was passed. In 1657, Lord Baltimore regained control after making a deal with the colony's Protestants, and in 1658 the Act was again passed by the colonial assembly. This time, it would last more than thirty years, until 1692, when after Maryland's, freedom of religion was again rescinded. In addition in 1704, an Act was passed 'to prevent the growth of Popery in this Province', preventing Catholics from holding political office. Full religious toleration would not be restored in Maryland until the, when Maryland's signed the. (1636), (1636), and (1682), founded by Baptist, Congregationalist, and Quaker, respectively, established the religious freedom in their colonies in direct opposition to the theocratic government which Separatist and had enforced in (1620) and (1628).
Having fled religious persecution themselves in England, the leaders of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay Colony restricted franchise to members of their church only, rigorously enforced their own interpretation of theological law and banished freethinkers such as Roger Williams, who was actually chased out of Salem., as well as banning Quakers and Anabaptists. These colonies became safe havens for persecuted religious minorities. Catholics and Jews also had full citizenship and free exercise of their faiths. Williams, Hooker, Penn, and their friends were firmly convinced that democracy and freedom of conscience were the will of God. Williams gave the most profound theological reason: As is the free gift of the, it cannot be forced upon a person. Therefore, strict has to be kept.
Pennsylvania was the only colony that retained unlimited religious freedom until the foundation of the United States. The inseparable connection of, freedom of religion, and the other forms of freedom became the political and legal basis of the new nation. In particular, and demanded vigorously and successfully the of the and Congregational that had existed in most colonies since the seventeenth century. The First Amendment In the United States, the religious civil liberties are guaranteed by the: 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 ',' stating that 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,' is generally read to prohibit the Federal government from establishing a national church ('religion') or excessively involving itself in religion, particularly to the benefit of one religion over another. Following the ratification of the and through the doctrine of, this restriction is held to be applicable to state governments as well. The ' states that Congress cannot 'prohibit the free exercise' of religious practices. The has consistently held, however, that the right to free exercise of religion is not absolute. For example, in the 19th century, some of the members of traditionally practiced, yet in (1879), the Supreme Court upheld the criminal conviction of one of these members under a federal law banning polygamy. The Court reasoned that to do otherwise would set precedent for a full range of religious beliefs including those as extreme as human sacrifice. The Court stated that ' Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices.'
For example, if one were part of a religion that believed in, the First Amendment would protect one's belief in vampirism, but not the practice. The Fourteenth Amendment The guarantees the religious civil rights. Whereas the First Amendment secures the free exercise of religion, section one of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits discrimination, including on the basis of religion, by securing 'the equal protection of the laws' for every person: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction there of, are citizens of the United States and of the State where in they reside.
No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Religious tests The affirmation or denial of specific religious beliefs had, in the past, been made into qualifications for public office; however, the states that the inauguration of a President may include an 'affirmation' of the faithful execution of his duties rather than an 'oath' to that effect — this provision was included in order to respect the religious prerogatives of the, a denomination that declines the swearing of. Constitution also provides that 'No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification of any Office or public Trust under the United States.' Several states have language included in their constitutions that requires state office-holders to have particular religious beliefs. These include,. Some of these beliefs (or oaths) were historically required of jurors and witnesses in court.
Even though they are still on the books, these provisions have been rendered unenforceable by decisions. With reference to the use of animals, the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the cases of the in 1993 upheld the right of Santeria adherents to practice ritual animal sacrifice with Justice Anthony Kennedy stating in the decision, 'religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent or comprehensible to others in order to merit First Amendment protection'. (quoted by Justice Kennedy from the opinion by Justice Burger in Thomas v. Review Board of the Indiana Employment Security Division (1981)) Likewise in Texas in 2009, issues that related to and were taken to the in the case of Jose Merced, President Templo Yoruba Omo Orisha Texas, Inc., v.
City of Euless. The court ruled that the free exercise of religion was meritorious and prevailing and that Merced was entitled under the Texas Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (TRFRA) to an injunction preventing the city of from enforcing its ordinances that burdened his religious practices relating to the use of animals. Religious liberty has not prohibited states or the federal government from prohibiting or regulating certain behaviors; i.e., and certain, although some interpret religious freedom to extend to these behaviors. The has ruled that a or a right does prevent the government from prohibiting adult access to, and from outlawing between consenting adults and early trimester. The 'wall of separation' wrote that the First Amendment erected a ' between church and state' likely borrowing the language from, founder of the and the Colony of Rhode Island, who used the phrase in his 1644 book,., often regarded as the 'Father of the Bill of Rights', also often wrote of the 'perfect separation', 'line of separation', 'strongly guarded as is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States', and 'total separation of the church from the state'.
Controversy rages in the United States between those who wish to restrict government involvement with religious institutions and remove religious references from government institutions and property, and those who wish to loosen such prohibitions. Advocates for stronger emphasize the plurality of faiths and non-faiths in the country, and what they see as broad guarantees of the. Their opponents emphasize what they see as the largely Christian heritage and history of the nation (often citing the references to 'Nature's God' and the 'Creator' of men in the ). Some more socially conservative Christian sects, such as the Christian Reconstructionist movement, oppose the concept of a 'wall of separation' and prefer a closer relationship between church and state.
Problems also arise in U.S. Public schools concerning the teaching and display of religious issues. In various counties, and have been put forward as solutions to accommodate variety in beliefs and freedom of religion, by allowing individual school boards to choose between a secular, religious or multi-faith vocation, and allowing parents free choice among these schools. Critics of American voucher programs claim that they take funds away from public schools, and that the amount of funds given by vouchers is not enough to help many middle and working class parents. Judges often ordered alcoholic defendants to attend or face imprisonment. However, in 1999, a federal appeals court ruled this unconstitutional because the A.A. Program relies on submission to a 'Higher Power'.
Thomas Jefferson also played a large role in the formation of freedom of religion. He created the, which has since been incorporated into the Virginia State Constitution.
A Christian flag displayed alongside the flag of the next to the pulpit in a church in California. Note the eagle and cross on the flag poles.
Under the doctrine of, the first amendment has been made applicable to the states. Therefore, the states must guarantee the freedom of religion in the same way the federal government must.
Many states have freedom of religion established in their constitution, though the exact legal consequences of this right vary for historical and cultural reasons. Most states interpret 'freedom of religion' as including the freedom of long-established to remain intact and not be destroyed. By extension, interpret 'freedom of religion' as the right of each individual to freely choose to from one religion to another, religions, or altogether. In office and at work Requirements for holding a public office.
See also:, and Some state constitutions in the US require belief in God or a Supreme Being as a prerequisite for holding public office or being a witness in court. This applies to, where the requirement was challenged and overturned in Voswinkel v. Hunt (1979), and, debatably. A unanimous 1961 U.S. Supreme Court decision in held that the and Amendments to the federal Constitution override these state requirements, so they are not enforced. Issues at the workplace Problems sometimes arise in the workplace concerning religious observance when a private employer discharges an employee for failure to report to work on what the employee considers a or a day of rest. In the United States, the view that has generally prevailed is that firing for any cause in general renders a former employee ineligible for unemployment compensation, but that this is no longer the case if the 'cause' is religious in nature, especially an employee's unwillingness to work during,.
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After reports in August 2010 that soldiers who refused to attend a Christian band's concert at a Virginia military base were essentially punished by being banished to their barracks and told to clean them up, an Army spokesman said that an investigation was underway and 'If something like that were to have happened, it would be contrary to Army policy.' Situation of minority groups Situation of Catholics. Famous 1876 editorial cartoon by showing bishops as attacking public schools, with the connivance of Irish Catholic politicians described anti-Catholicism as 'the most luxuriant, tenacious tradition of paranoiac agitation in American history'. Anti-Catholicism which was prominent in the United Kingdom was exported to the. Two types of anti-Catholic rhetoric existed in colonial society. The first, derived from the heritage of the Protestant Reformation and the, consisted of the 'Anti-Christ' and the 'Whore of Babylon' variety and dominated Anti-Catholic thought until the late 17th century. The second was a more secular variety which focused on the supposed intrigue of the Catholics intent on extending medieval despotism worldwide.
Historian has called Anti-Catholicism 'the deepest-held bias in the history of the American people.' Illustration in 1928 by Bishop Published by the in Because many of the British colonists, such as the and, were fleeing religious persecution by the Church of England, much of early American religious culture exhibited the more extreme anti-Catholic bias of these Protestant denominations. Monsignor wrote that a 'universal anti-Catholic bias was brought to Jamestown in 1607 and vigorously cultivated in all the thirteen colonies from to.' Colonial charters and laws contained specific proscriptions against Roman Catholics. Monsignor Ellis noted that a common hatred of the Roman Catholic Church could unite clerics and Puritan ministers despite their differences and conflicts.
Some of America's held anti-clerical beliefs. For example, in 1788, urged the to require office-holders to renounce foreign authorities 'in all matters ecclesiastical as well as civil.' Wrote: 'History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government,' and, 'In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.'
Some states devised designed to exclude Catholics from state and local office. The public support for American independence and the of the U.S. Constitution by prominent American Catholics like, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, and his second cousins, Bishop and, allowed Roman Catholics to be included in the constitutional protections of civil and religious liberty.
Anti-Catholic animus in the United States reached a peak in the 19th century when the Protestant population became alarmed by the influx of Catholic immigrants. Some American Protestants, having an increased interest in prophecies regarding the end of time, claimed that the Catholic Church was the in the Book of Revelation.
The resulting 'nativist' movement, which achieved prominence in the 1840s, was whipped into a frenzy of anti-Catholicism that led to mob violence, the burning of Catholic property, and the killing of Catholics. This violence was fed by claims that Catholics were destroying the culture of the United States. The nativist movement found expression in a national political movement called the of the 1850s, which (unsuccessfully) ran former president as its presidential candidate in 1856. The founder of the Know-Nothing movement, based his political career entirely on anti-Catholicism, and served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1845–1851), after which he campaigned for Fillmore and other 'nativist' candidates. After 1875 many states passed constitutional provisions, called ', forbidding tax money be used to fund parochial schools.
In 2002, the partially vitiated these amendments, when they ruled that vouchers were constitutional if tax dollars followed a child to a school, even if it were religious. Anti-Catholicism was widespread in the 1920s; anti-Catholics, including the Ku Klux Klan, believed that Catholicism was incompatible with democracy and that parochial schools encouraged separatism and kept Catholics from becoming loyal Americans. The Catholics responded to such prejudices by repeatedly asserting their rights as American citizens and by arguing that they, not the nativists (anti-Catholics), were true patriots since they believed in the right to freedom of religion. The 1928 presidential campaign of was a rallying point for the Klan and the tide of anti-Catholicism in the U.S.
The Catholic was first built in 1925 in, a largely Protestant area. Two weeks after it opened, the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross in front of the church. The church burned down in a fire in 1936. In response, the church built a fireproof crucifixion tower, as a 'cross they could not burn'.
In 1922, the voters of passed an amending Section 5259, the Compulsory Education Act. The law unofficially became known as the Oregon School Law.
The citizens' initiative was primarily aimed at eliminating, including Catholic schools. The law caused outraged Catholics to organize locally and nationally for the right to send their children to Catholic schools. In (1925), the United States Supreme Court declared the Oregon's Compulsory Education Act unconstitutional in a ruling that has been called 'the Magna Carta of the parochial school system.' In 1928, became the first Roman Catholic to gain a major party's nomination for president, and his religion became an issue during the. Many Protestants feared that Smith would take orders from church leaders in Rome in making decisions affecting the country. A key factor that hurt in his was the widespread prejudice against his Roman Catholic religion; some, including, believed that, if he were elected president, Kennedy would have to take orders from the in Rome.
To address fears that his Roman Catholicism would impact his decision-making, famously told the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on September 12, 1960, 'I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party's candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters — and the Church does not speak for me.' He promised to respect the separation of church and state and not to allow Catholic officials to dictate public policy to him. Kennedy also raised the question of whether one-quarter of Americans were relegated to second-class citizenship just because they were Catholic. Kennedy went on to win the national popular vote over by just one tenth of one percentage point (0.1%) – the closest popular-vote margin of the 20th century.
In the, Kennedy's victory was larger, as he took 303 electoral votes to Nixon's 219 (269 were needed to win)., summarizing the discussion late in November, spoke of a 'narrow consensus' among the experts that Kennedy had won more than he lost as a result of his Catholicism, as Catholics flocked to Kennedy to demonstrate their group solidarity in demanding political equality. In 2011, The argued that the put an undue burden upon Catholics and forced them to violate their right to freedom of religion as part of the. Situation of the Latter Day Saint movement 1820–90. Main article: Historically, the, which is often called, has been the victim of beginning with reports by founder immediately after his 1820 and continuing as the movement grew and migrated from its inception in western to,.
The violence culminated when Smith was by a mob of 200 men in in 1844. Joseph Smith had surrendered himself previously to the authorities, who failed to protect him. As a result of the violence they were faced with in, the, led by, migrated westwards and eventually founded, and many other communities along the. Smith and his followers experienced relatively low levels of persecution in New York and Ohioalthough one incident involved church members being.
They would eventually move on to Missouri, where some of the worst atrocities against Mormons would take place. Smith declared the area around to be the site of, inspiring a massive influx of Mormon converts. Locals, alarmed by rumors of the strange, new religion (including rumors of polygamy)attempted to drive the Mormons out.
This resulted in the, the, and the issue of the by Governor, which ordered '. Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state.
The majority of Mormons would flee to Illinois, where they were received warmly by the village of Commerce, Illinois. The Mormons quickly expanded the town and renamed it, which was one of the largest cities in Illinois at the time.
The economic, political, and religious dominance of the Mormons (Smith was mayor of the city and commander of the local militia, the ) inspired mobs to attack the city, and Smith was arrested for ordering the destruction of an anti-Mormon newspaper, the, although he acted with the consent of the city council. He was imprisoned, along with his brother, at Carthage Jail, where they were attacked by a mob and murdered. After a, most of the Mormons united under, who organized an evacuation from Nauvoo and from the United States itself after the federal government refused to protect the Mormons. Young and an eventual 50,000–70,000 would cross the to settle in the and the surrounding area. After the events of the, the area became a.
Young immediately petitioned for the addition of the, but the federal government declined. Instead, Congress carved out the much smaller. Over the next 46 years, several actions of the federal government were directed at Mormons, specifically to curtail the practice of polygamy and to reduce their political and economic power. These included the,. In 1890, LDS Church issued the, ending polygamy. With the concept of, from 1830 to 1890 the Mormon faith allowed its members to practice; after 1843 this was limited to (one man could have several wives).
The notion of polygamy was not only generally disdained by most of Joseph Smith's contemporaries, it is also contrary to the traditional. After 1844 the United States government passed legislation aimed specifically at the Mormon practice of until (LDS Church) officially renounced it.
In the case of, the U.S. Supreme court concluded that 'religious duty' was not a suitable defense to an indictment for polygamy; therefore, a law against polygamy is not legally considered to that endorses polygamy.
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When their appeals to the courts and lawmakers were exhausted and once church leaders were satisfied that God had accepted what they saw as their sacrifice for the principle, the prophet leader of the church announced that he had received inspiration that God had accepted their obedience and rescinded the commandment for plural marriage. In 1890, an was issued by the church prohibiting further plural marriages.
Was admitted to the Union on January 4, 1896. Situation of Native Americans Aside from the general issues in the relations between Europeans and since the initial, there has been a historic suppression of Native American religions as well as some current charges of against Native Americans by the U.S.
With the practice of the, Native American children were where they were forced to worship as Christians and traditional customs were banned. Until the Freedom of Religion Act 1978, 'spiritual leaders of Native Americans ran the risk of jail sentences of up to 30 years for simply practicing their rituals.' The traditional was illegal from the 1880s (Canada) or 1904 (USA) to the 1980s.
Continuing charges of religious discrimination have largely centered on the, the use of ceremonial, and the of Native American human remains and cultural and religious objects:. The, which governs the possession and religious use of eagle feathers, was written with the intention to protect then dwindling eagle populations on one hand while still protecting traditional Native American spiritual and religious customs, to which the use of eagle feather is central, on the other hand. As a result, the possession of eagle feathers is restricted to ethnic Native Americans, a policy that is seen as controversial for several reasons., a spineless cactus found in the desert southwest and, is commonly used in certain traditions of Native American religion and spirituality, most notably in the. Prior to the passage of the (AIRFA) in 1978, and as amended in 1994, the religious use of peyote was not afforded legal protection. This resulted in the arrest of many Native Americans and non-Native Americans participating in traditional indigenous religion and spirituality.
Native Americans often hold strong personal and spiritual connections to their ancestors and often believe that their remains should rest undisturbed. This has often placed Native Americans at odds with archaeologists who have often dug on Native American burial grounds and other sites considered sacred, often removing artifacts and human remains – an act considered sacrilegious by many Native Americans. For years, Native American communities decried the removal of ancestral human remains and cultural and religious objects, charging that such activities are acts of, religious persecution,. Many Native Americans called on the government, museums, and private collectors for the return of remains and sensitive objects for reburial.
The (NAGPRA), which gained passage in 1990, established a means for Native Americans to request the return or 'repatriation' of human remains and other sensitive cultural, religious, and funerary items held by federal agencies and federally assisted museums and institutions. Situation of atheists.
See also: A 2006 study at the showed atheists to be the most distrusted minority among Americans. In the study, Penny Edgell, Joseph Gerties and Douglas Hartmann conducted a survey of American public opinion on attitudes towards different groups. 40% of respondents characterized atheists as a group that 'does not at all agree with my vision of American society', putting atheists well ahead of every other group, with the next highest being Muslims (26%) and (23%). When participants were asked whether they agreed with the statement, 'I would disapprove if my child wanted to marry a member of this group,' atheists again led minorities, with 48% disapproval, followed by Muslims (34%) and (27%). Joe Foley, co-chairman for Campus Atheists and Secular Humanists, commented on the results, 'I know atheists aren't studied that much as a sociological group, but I guess atheists are one of the last groups remaining that it's still socially acceptable to hate.' A study conducted in the United States found that believers distrust atheists as much as they distrust.
The study also showed that atheists have lower employment prospects. Several private organizations, the most notable being the,.
However, this policy has come under fire by organizations who assert that the Boy Scouts of America do benefit from taxpayer money and thus cannot be called a truly private organization, and thus must admit atheists, and others currently barred from membership. An organization called, founded by, is at the forefront of the movement. Court cases In the 1994 case, Supreme Court Justice wrote in the opinion for the Court that: 'government should not prefer one religion to another, or religion to irreligion'.
Established that 'neither a state nor the Federal Government can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another'. This applies the to the states as well as the. However, several make the protection of persons from religious discrimination conditional on their acknowledgment of the existence of a, making freedom of religion in those states inapplicable to atheists.
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These state constitutional clauses have not been tested. Cases are typically brought in federal courts, so such state provisions are mainly of symbolic importance. In (2004), after atheist challenged the phrase 'under God' in the United States, the found the phrase unconstitutional. Although the decision was stayed pending the outcome of an appeal, there was the prospect that the pledge would cease to be legally usable without modification in schools in the, over which the Ninth Circuit has jurisdiction. This resulted in political furor, and both houses of passed resolutions condemning the decision, unanimously. On June 26, a -dominated group of 100–150 congressmen stood outside the capital and recited the pledge, showing how much they disagreed with the decision.
The Supreme Court subsequently reversed the decision, ruling that Newdow did not have to bring his case, thus disposing of the case without ruling on the constitutionality of the pledge. Case studies. The, which governs the possession and use of feathers, was officially written to protect then dwindling eagle populations while still protecting traditional and customs, of which the use of eagles are central. The Eagle Feather Law later met charges of promoting racial and religious discrimination due to the law's provision authorizing the possession of eagle feathers to members of only one ethnic group, Native Americans, and forbidding Native Americans from including non-Native Americans in customs involving eagle feathers—a common modern practice dating back to the early 16th century. Charges of religious and racial discrimination have also been found in the education system.
In a recent example, the dormitory policies at and The were charged with racial and religious discrimination when they forbade a university dormitory resident from while praying. The policy at The was later changed to permit students to pray while living in the university dorms. In 2004, a case involving five Ohio prison inmates (two followers of (a modern form of ), a minister of the, a witch ), and a protesting denial of access to ceremonial items and opportunities for group worship was brought before the Supreme Court. The reports on the 2005 decision of in favour of the claimants as a notable case. Among the denied objects was instructions for runic writing requested by an Asatruar.
Inmates of the 'Intensive Management Unit' at who are adherents of Asatru in 2001 were deprived of their medallions. In 2007, a federal judge confirmed that Asatru adherents in US prisons have the right to possess a Thor's Hammer pendant. An inmate sued the Virginia Department of Corrections after he was denied it while members of other religions were allowed their medallions.