From government mandates to public accommodation laws to employment issues, churches must understand what is and isn’t constitutionally protected.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This language has been foundational to the religious liberty that millions of people have enjoyed in this country for nearly 250 years.
Courts have interpreted the First Amendment through countless decisions since the First Amendment’s adoption, dramatically affecting the protections it affords to both people and houses of worship alike. The US Congress and state legislatures have adopted laws further shaping its scope and reach. Understanding how these numerous developments work is vitally important to pastors and church leaders–and this Church Law & Tax Recommended Reading page is designed to help build that understanding.
Religious freedom protections expanded in South Dakota and Montana, meaning 23 states now require higher standards for their governments to meet whenever they “substantially burden” religious exercise.
Religious freedom protections reinforced by Supreme Court’s ruling against a policy in Philadelphia.
Richard R. Hammar
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