When Religious Practices Become Legal Obligations: Extending the Foreign Compulsion Defense
Michael A. Helfand
Pepperdine University School of Law
Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 23, 2008
The purpose of this article is to fashion a religious compulsion defense as an outgrowth of the legally recognized foreign compulsion defense. Contra the rationale advanced in Employment Division v. Smith, the article argues that the rationale behind the foreign compulsion defense - to protect individuals from conflicting legal norms of competing legal systems - should also apply to situations where religious law and United States law collide. In adopting the criteria of the foreign compulsion defense, a religious compulsion defense would extract individuals from conflicts of law, protecting individuals in the throes of the most intractable of dilemmas.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: Religion, Conflict of Laws, Legal Theory
JEL Classification: K00, K33, K42
Date posted: May 30, 2007 ; Last revised: March 3, 2008
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