The second Pillar of the First Amendment’s temple is …
o The “free exercise” clause
… or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …
Compared to both the linguistic subtleties of the “free exercise” clause and the consequent intricacies of the corresponding case law, the language of the “establishment clause” is as transparently simple as “Row, row, row your boat”. This exponential increase in complexity and subtlety is due to the fact that, whereas the “establishment” clause pertains only to government action vis a vis religious institutions, teachings, and doctrine, the “free exercise” clause pertains to the myriad ways in which the exercise of religion impinges, not only upon prerogatives of the government, but also upon those of individuals and groups.
Breitbart recently carried a story about three Miami Dolphins players (wide receiver Kenny Stills, receiver Albert Wilson, and defensive end Robert Quinn) who either took a knee or raised a fist in response to the playing of the National Anthem. Predictably enough, Breitbart excoriated the three players participating in the protest for their ostensible disrespect for the Flag, the Nation, the Armed Forces, … you know … the usual litany of synthetic outrage. Which got me to thinking … it might be interesting to indulge in a purely speculative thought experiment about the way events might unfold, in this instance and in all other instances of NFL players kneeling in response to the Anthem in an alternate parallel Universe. Thought experiments – or gedanken experiments – have a long and
The “Vergangenheit” episode of season 2 of Netflix’ critically acclaimed series The Crown dwelt at length on the treachery of the ex-King Edward VIII’s and his wife Wallis Simpson’s collaboration with Hitler to restore Edward to the Throne following the supposedly imminent and, at the time, the all-too-possible fall of England and the establishment of a Nazi regime in the United Kingdom. (Incidentally and not unexpectedly, the Prime Minister of a fascist UK would allegedly have been Oswald Mosley, head of the British Union of Fascists.) The true extent of the treason came to light with the publication, in the United States, of what Americans called the “Marburg files,” after the castle in the German state of Hesse, where the documents were discovered – which the English more appropriat