Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Freedom of Religion
A federal appeals court ruled that a county seal bearing an outline of the Ten Commandments did not violate the nonestablishment of religion clause.
Key point 14-04. The display of religious symbols on public property does not violate the first amendment nonestablishment of religion clause so long as they are part of a larger display that includes secular symbols.
Key point 13-01.1. The most commonly applied test for evaluating the validity of a law of government practice under the first amendment's nonestablishment of religion clause is the three-part "Lemon" test. Under this test, a law or government practice that conveys some benefit on religion will be constitutional if it (1) has a clearly secular purpose; (2) has a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion; and (3) does not foster an excessive entanglement between church and state. All three parts of the test must be met in order for the law or practice to be constitutional. The Supreme Court has recognized limited exceptions to this test.

The Establishment Clause

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Posted: March 1, 2004
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