Religious Freedom: What Are the Limits?

Consider the following issues and accompanying questions concerning religious freedom in the United States:
•Public schools often close for some religious holidays (e.g., Christmas or Yom Kippur). Does this constitute a violation of the separation of church and state? Why or why not, and what do laws and court rulings say on the subject?
•Should members of religious groups be granted a waiver on U.S. laws for certain religious practices (e.g., peyote or other drug use, animal sacrifice, refusing medical treatment for children)? Where would you draw the line and why?
•Finally, the U.S. Congress opens its sessions with a prayer led by a chaplain. Although this person does not have to be Christian, all have been. Does opening sessions of Congress with a prayer (no matter of which faith) violate the separation of church and state?
Where do you think the line should be drawn when religious freedom is at stake?
To prepare:
•Review Chapter 6, the article titled “God and Country,” and relevant articles from the First Amendment Center’s “Religion Research Articles” website, focusing on the ways in which different people interpret the religious provisions of the First Amendment.
•Review the Resources for this week.
•View the media for this week.
•Compare the different effects of freedom of religion and religious practices in your life in the workplace, classroom, and other public areas.
•Think about the issues inherent in the examples of religious oppression provided in the introduction to this Discussion and in the media you watched. Select one issue for Discussion.
•Read the Discussion Spark posted by your Instructor in the Week 3 Discussion Thread on Day 1.
With these thoughts in mind:
Post by Day 2 a 1- to 2-paragraph response to the Discussion Spark. Important Note: The Week 3 Discussion Spark and the Week 3 Discussion be will be graded together. You will see one score in your My Grades area.
Post by Day 3 an explanation of your position on the issue you selected, referencing the effects of the First Amendment on religious practices. Also reference practices of oppressed religious groups. Support your response with information from the Resources and from other information you found on the subject