Jump directly to the content

Pastor, Church & Law

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

Employment Division v. Smith

Volume 4 . Chapter 12 . § 12-11

Employment Division v. Smith53 § 12-11

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that "Congress shall make no law … prohibiting the free exercise of religion." For many years, the United States Supreme Court has interpreted this language to mean that government cannot impose substantial burdens on the exercise of sincerely-held religious beliefs unless its action is justified by a "compelling state interest" that cannot be served through less restrictive means. In a case of historic proportion, the Supreme Court revised its understanding of the "free exercise" clause. It is unclear at this time what the ramifications will be.

Oregon law prohibits the intentional possession of a "controlled substance," including ...

Article Preview

This article is currently available to ChurchLawAndTax.com subscribers only. To continue reading:

This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.


Receive a customized salary report for up to 18 different ministry positions. Learn how your church should compensate based on size, budget, location, and employee work experience.

Immigration & the Church

Immigration & the Church Subscriber access only

Help with determining how to proceed legally with the issue of immigration
Dealing with Dangerous People

Dealing with Dangerous People Subscriber access only

This resource goes through safety measures to ward off dangerous individuals from entering your church.