Professor Richard Delgado asserts that the legal status of [alleged] religious cults should be analyzed within the context of the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution—which forbids slavery—rather than within the First Amendment alone. He believes the conditions of some [so-called] cult members do in fact constitute a state of slavery (Rudin and Rudin, 1980).

U.S. courts have repeatedly ruled that the First Amendment provides only unqualified freedom of religious belief, not unlimited freedom to practice those beliefs in ways that may violate existing laws or pose a threat to the health and safety of individuals or society (Conway and Siegelman, 1982).

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