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Pastor, Church & Law

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

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Volume 3 . Chapter 8, Part 3 . § 8-12.8
Key Point8-12.8 Congress enacted the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to prevent the government from enacting any law or adopting any practice that substantially burdens the free exercise of religion unless the law or practice is supported by a compelling government interest. The compelling government interest requirement applies to any law, including neutral laws of general applicability. The objective of the Act was to repudiate the Supreme Court's decision in the Smith case (1990) in which the Court ruled that neutral laws of general applicability that burden the free exercise of religion do not need to be supported by a compelling government interest in order to satisfy the First Amendment. In 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that the Act ...

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