Illinois Law Review Online
This short piece reflects on the substantial burden inquiry in the law of religious accommodation. All legal regimes that are open to religious accommodation will want to know something about the nature of the burden on religion that the law imposes. This essay contends that to speak of a substantial burden on religious exercise is in effect to conceive of religion as a system — a group of interlocking beliefs and practices that together is greater than the sum of its parts. Some features of the system will be core features, while some will be peripheral. There is no getting around it: substantial burdens imply central beliefs.