20 UALR L. J. 555 (1997-1998)
An Unfirm Foundation: The Regrettable Indefensibility of Religious Exemptions

handle is hein.journals/ualr20 and id is 565 raw text is: AN UNFIRM FOUNDATION: THE REGRETTABLE
INDEFENSIBILITY OF RELIGIOUS EXEMPTIONS
Frederick Mark Gedicks
Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth
them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a
rock:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew,
and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a
rock.
And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them
not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the
sand:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew,
and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Matthew 7:24-27 (King James).
Better is half a loaf than no bread.
John Heywood (1497-1530)
I. INTRODUCTION: THE QUESTION WITHOUT AN ANSWER
Consider the following hypotheticals:
A church and a secular nonprofit organization both want to operate a
homeless shelter in violation of local zoning regulations. What would be
the justification for granting the church an exemption from the regulations,
but not the secular nonprofit?
A pro-life Roman Catholic attorney is assigned by a court to represent an
indigent pregnant teen seeking an abortion without parental notification in a state
with a judicial bypass procedure. An African American attorney is assigned to
represent a group of indigent white supremacists who have been denied a permit
to demonstrate in a city park. Assuming that the state's ethical rules do not
permit either attorney to decline the representation, and assuming further that
both attorneys prefer to decline the representation for the obvious reasons, what
would be the justification for granting a constitutional exemption from the rule
to the Roman Catholic, but not to the African American?
* Professor of Law, Brigham Young University. I am indebted to Sylvan Morley for
research assistance.

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