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Pastor, Church & LawMember access only

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


§ 12.02.04

The following rules summarize the current interpretation of the First Amendment guaranty of religious freedom, in light of the most recent Supreme Court decisions and other relevant precedent.

RULE #1. It will be difficult for religious organizations to challenge neutral laws of general applicability that burden religious practices or beliefs, because such laws are presumably valid whether or not supported by a compelling government interest.
Rule #1 is based on the Supreme Court's decisions in the Smith and City of Boerne cases. RFRA's attempt to establish a "compelling government interest" requirement in order to justify governmental infringements upon religion was declared unconstitutional by the Court in the City of Boerne ruling.
RULE #2. Laws that are not "neutral" towards religion, or that are not of "general applicability," will violate the First ...

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