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Church Childcare Program Forced to Seek License

Court concluded that licensing law did not violate church’s rights.

Key Point 13-02.1 In the Smith case (1990) the Supreme Court ruled that a neutral law of general applicability is presumably valid and need not be supported by a compelling government interest to be consistent with the first amendment, even if it interferes with the exercise of religion.

A Tennessee court ruled that a state law requiring church childcare agencies to be licensed did not violate the constitutional rights of a church-run program that refused to seek a license. A church operated a "Bible School" from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, during the regular school year. Children arrived and left at various times throughout the day and could stay for any number of hours based on their parents' needs. The Bible School enrolled children ages one to sixteen, and school-aged children were transported to and from their schools by church staff members. On days when schools were ...

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Posted:
  • March 3, 2008

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