Berkley Center Knowledge Resources Home Berkley Center Home Berkley Center on iTunes U Berkley Center's YouTube Channel Berkley Center's Vimeo Channel Berkley Center's YouTube Channel Berkley Center's iTunes Page Berkley Center's Twitter Page Berkley Center's Facebook Page Berkley Center's Vimeo Channel Berkley Center's YouTube Channel Berkley Center's iTunes Page WFDD's Twitter Page WFDD's Facebook Page Doyle Undergraduate Initiatives Undergraduate Learning and Interreligious Understanding Survey Junior Year Abroad Network Undergraduate Fellows Knowledge Resources KR Classroom Resources KR Countries KR Traditions KR Topics Berkley Center Home Berkley Center Knowledge Resources Berkley Center Home Berkley Center Forum Back to the Berkley Center World Faiths Development Dialogue Back to the Berkley Center Religious Freedom Project Back to the Berkley Center Religious Freedom Project Blog Back to the Berkley Center Catholic Social Thought Back to the Berkley Center Normative Orders Collaborative
August 1, 2014  |  About the Berkley Center  |  Directions to the Center  |  Subscribe
 
Topics Traditions Countries Classroom US/China  

COUNTRY

United States United States

SUB-TOPICS

Religion in US Law Religion in US Law
Religious freedom is a paramount value in the United States, yet defining how the law should protect religious practice and institutions, and when law and policy should...

RELATED RESOURCES: CHRISTIAN

Bob Jones University v. United States

Decided: May 24, 1983
Supreme Court of the United States
Bob Jones University v. United States, 461 U.S. 574 (1983)
In Bob Jones University v. United States, the Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of the IRS denying tax exemptions to religious institutions that practiced racial discrimination. Generally, the IRS provides a tax exemption to institutions organized exclusively for religious or charitable purposes. In 1971, the IRS created a policy denying such tax exemptions to institutions that practice racial discrimination. In this case, both Bob Jones University and another institution, Goldsboro Christian Schools, had racially discriminatory admissions policies, which the schools claimed were based on sincerely held religious beliefs. The IRS denied both schools their tax exemptions because of their racially discriminatory policies. The schools appealed that decision on the grounds that the denial violated their First Amendment right to freely exercise their religion, and also violated the Establishment Clause by preferring religions that do not include racially discriminatory tenets over those that do. The Court concluded that the IRS acted properly in denying the schools their tax exemption. First, the government may place limits on the free exercise of religion if such limits are designed to further a substantial government interest. The Court found that the government’s interest in ending racial discrimination was substantial and outweighed any burden the denial of the tax exemption created. Second, the Court held that the IRS policy was based on a neutral, secular purpose, and was not designed to prefer one religion over another. Thus, the policy did not violate the Free Exercise Clause or the Establishment Clause.