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Pastor, Church & Law

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

Lemon v. Kurtzman

Volume 4 . Chapter 12 . § 12-08

Lemon v. Kurtzman41 § 12-08

In striking down various provisions of a New York law authorizing state aid to nonpublic school teachers who taught secular subjects, the Court articulated a three-pronged test for evaluating the constitutionality of government action under the establishment clause: "First, the statute must have a secular legislative purpose; second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion; finally, the statute must not foster 'an excessive governmental entanglement with religion.'"42 This is the test that the federal courts have applied, almost without exception, in evaluating whether or not a particular governmental accommodation of religion violates the establishment clause.

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