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Pastor, Church & Law

written by Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA

Employment Division v. Smith

Volume 4 . Chapter 12 . § 12-11

Employment Division v. Smith53 § 12-11

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that "Congress shall make no law … prohibiting the free exercise of religion." For many years, the United States Supreme Court has interpreted this language to mean that government cannot impose substantial burdens on the exercise of sincerely-held religious beliefs unless its action is justified by a "compelling state interest" that cannot be served through less restrictive means. In a case of historic proportion, the Supreme Court revised its understanding of the "free exercise" clause. It is unclear at this time what the ramifications will be.

Oregon law prohibits the intentional possession of a "controlled substance," including ...

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