This noble idea – the religious freedom, or the free exercise of conscience – is so convincing that it has been affirmed many times in the modern world, in international pacts, in national constitutions and in political speeches. However, millions of human beings continue to be subject to religious persecution and, sometimes, to deadly discrimination. They pay a profound cost to their religious conscience.
In today’s American society, everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes the freedom to change your religion or belief and the freedom to manifest your religion or belief. Sure, there are still a lot of problems, but it is good to know that there are more and more religious exemptions and privileges – whether this will prove to be good or bad, in the long run.
The right to have a belief is a general right and it has the role of protecting the inner self of a person, that is, the personal and religious beliefs. This right is not susceptible to limitations because it is impossible for the state to impose a certain type of thinking on a person.
It cannot therefore be the object of restrictions other than those which, as provided for by law, in a democratic society, constitute measures necessary for public security, the protection of public policy, public health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of other people who have other systems of belief.
Thus, the freedom to have your own beliefs is absolute, since the deep ideas or beliefs in the inner self of a person do not interfere with public order; on the other hand, the freedom to manifest your beliefs is relative, since, by externalizing them, public order may be infringed or threatened.
Get an attorney!
If you feel that your religious freedom is being violated, it is advisable to talk to a civil rights lawyer specialized in disputes related to the free exercise of conscience, because this professional has the legal information that can help you understand if your case is good, from a legal point of view, and may represent you in court.
Choosing such an attorney is not an easy task, but not impossible either, especially if you consider certain important aspects.
First of all, you have to understand that you need a lawyer who specializes in religious litigation. Legally, a lawyer that has a specialization in a certain legal area is not forbidden to handle cases related to another area. However, regardless of the notoriety of a lawyer, if he/ she is not a specialist in the field you are interested in, you should not hire them.
Lawyers are very different, in terms of training, experience, specialization and the way of approaching cases, but also in terms of human typology. That is why it is good make up your mind and know exactly what you want from the respective legal approach, because this will help you determine how compatible an attorney is with your case.
On the other hand, you must keep in mind that a lawyer is not obliged to take over your case; they also have the freedom to choose their clients according to their principles. A lawyer may also refuse you if your case does not promise a solution within a reasonable time or if it involves a series of complications that you do not see.