Magical thinking is a part of most religions I know about, and, certainly part of Christianity. For example, magical thinking is that grape juice becomes Jesus’ blood or that prayers healed someone.
This kind of magical thinking mostly is harmless and is protected by our Constitution. But, when does the government have a right to prohibit practices that are legitimate parts of religions?
Most of us would agree, I would guess, that the state has a right, generally, to prevent religious practices that harm vulnerable people. The practices of polygamy, child exploitation, spousal abuse and self mutilation are among those prohibited by our laws.
A snake handling preacher was killed by a snake a few months ago. This was in spite of the precaution to feed the snakes before the event–God apparently protects the faithful from snake bites if the faithful make sure the snakes are in a mellow mode.
I saw an article in the Wall Street Journal today by a snake handler making the case the Consitution protects practicioners from intervention by government. I don’t know if the practice should be allowed or not, but putting practices into the realm of religion has lots of implications.
Making gay marriage and abortions into religious ceremonies, for example, should end the arguments they are immoral. Because religion is an arbitrary and man-made phenomenon, the argument can be made most any practice is protected.