Q: Is it legal for a college to force a student to prove they are a member of a specific religious group?
My college A&P class is requiring me to dissect a cat, twice a week for the next 6 weeks. I attempted to explain to the instructor that I am a vegetarian with extremely strong spiritual, ethical and moral convictions against such acts and respectfully requested an alternative, which he denied. I then spoke with the head of the science department and made the same request. I have been told that my request will only be honored if I tell them what my specific religion is and provide doctrine of that religion which states that animal dissection is disallowed, and/or a letter from a church leader, proving that I am of the religion that I claim and that dissection is disallowed. Is it legal to make such a demand in order to have my First Amendment rights to freedom of religion be honored, and to not be forced to violate my personal religious beliefs and cruelty-free lifestyle? I find this entire situation deeply offensive and deeply disturbing.
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