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Pastor, Church & Law

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

Legal Briefs

Volume 4 . Chapter 13

The two previous chapters have addressed the importance of the Supreme Court's interpretation of the First Amendment religion clauses. In this chapter, the Court's current interpretation of the religion clauses is addressed

In 1973, the Court held that a law or government action challenged on the basis of the "establishment clause" will be constitutional only if it meets all of the following three conditions: (1) a clearly secular purpose, (2) a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion, and (3) no excessive entanglement between government and religion. This test often is referred to as the "tripartite" establishment clause test. In more recent rulings the Supreme Court has held that the tripartite test is not the only test ...

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