The Right to Be Wrong
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
In “Limits of Religious Freedom” (March), Matthew Schmitz says that we must recognize limits to religious freedom and boundaries to what qualifies as religion. He is right on both counts. But the limits and boundaries he proposes, if taken at all literally, would bring an end to any meaningful right to religious freedom. The principal limit on religious freedom in U.S. law is the rule that government may substantially burden the exercise of religion only when doing so is necessary to achieve a compelling government interest. This limit is codified in the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and appears in similar legislation or constitutional interpretation in a majority of the states.