Jump directly to the content

Pastor, Church & Law

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

Definition of "Religion" and "Religious"

Volume 4 . Chapter 14 . § 14-10
Key point 14-10. The courts have defined the terms "religion" and "religious" broadly.

Occasionally it is important to know how the courts have defined the term religion. The First Amendment expressly prohibits the "establishment of religion" and protects its free exercise; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination by employers on the basis of an employee's religion; the Internal Revenue Code and several state tax laws exempt certain religious organizations from taxation; and many other federal, state, and local laws and regulations use the term.

The term religion is not easily defined. Early court decisions generally limited the term to belief in God. For example, in 1890, the Supreme Court observed that the term religion "has reference ...

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.


ChurchSalary

ChurchSalary

Experience a whole new way to set compensation. Eliminate the guesswork – get access to detailed compensation reports in just minutes.

Avoiding Church Lawsuits

Avoiding Church Lawsuits Subscriber access only

Create proactive procedures to avoid common reasons why churches most often go to court.
Starting a Disaster Response Ministry

Starting a Disaster Response Ministry Subscriber access only

Safely and effectively serve people whose lives have been overturned by a disaster.