In his latest post on the Volokh Conspiracy, Professor Eugene Volokh discusses some interesting » Parental Rights / Religious Freedom issues arising from N.J. Div’n of Youth & Family Servs. v. Y.C. (N.J. App. Div. May 27, 2011), a case upholding the conclusion that Y.C. had abused or neglected her daughter, A.C. (which had led to a temporary removal of the child from Y.C.)":
As you might gather, this raises some of the same parental rights and religious freedom issues that we had discussed in the circumcision discussion. Of course, there are substantial differences, which may justifiably lead to a different bottom line: circumcision of boys may well have long-term health benefits; when done to an infant, circumcision likely doesn’t leave lasting memories of pain or fear; at the same time, circumcision involves permanent excision of tissue and not just pin pricks. But I thought this would be an interesting way to test people’s intuitions about the proper scope of parental rights and religious freedom rights.
After a careful reading of the post and the comments that followed, I have concluded that the First Amendment is flawed. Both the Establishment and the Free Exercise Clause should be edited out, and it should simply read:
Congress shall make no laws abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment takes care of what is really important in the edited out clauses:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
With that, the term “religion” will be excised from our Constitution. Instead of futilely attempting to define “religion”, we could all focus on getting a life, and J. Scalia can retire!