Articles

The Lemon Test Needed to Be Shot Down

Just because someone feels offended by the sight of prayer doesn’t mean that it’s coercive.  The Lemon Test is now gone, thankfully, and religious liberty will be better protected because of it.

10/12/22

John Stonestreet

Heather Peterson

Last month, some news outfits seemed to take turns taking cheap shots at Coach Joe Kennedy, who recently won at the Supreme Court over the right to pray after a football game. Even so, his case has set an important new precedent.  

The Lemon Test was a longstanding and often-criticized guideline for judging when the free exercise of religion clause and the establishment clause—both in the First Amendment—appear in conflict. Supporters of the Lemon Test saw it as a means to clarify issues, but the practical effect, whenever it had been applied, was to disallow religious expression in government settings, violating the original intent of the establishment clause that religious expression simply not become coercive 

As the majority noted, just because someone feels offended by the sight of prayer doesn’t mean that it’s coercive.  The Lemon Test is now gone, thankfully, and religious liberty will be better protected because of it. 

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