42 U.S.C. § 2000cc - U.S. Code - Unannotated Title 42. The Public Health and Welfare § 2000cc. Protection of land use as religious exercise




Substantial burdens

General rule

No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation in a manner that imposes a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person, including a religious assembly or institution, unless the government demonstrates that imposition of the burden on that person, assembly, or institution--

 is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest;  and

 is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

Scope of application

This subsection applies in any case in which--

 the substantial burden is imposed in a program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability;

 the substantial burden affects, or removal of that substantial burden would affect, commerce with foreign nations, among the several States, or with Indian tribes, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability;  or

 the substantial burden is imposed in the implementation of a land use regulation or system of land use regulations, under which a government makes, or has in place formal or informal procedures or practices that permit the government to make, individualized assessments of the proposed uses for the property involved.

Discrimination and exclusion

Equal terms

No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation in a manner that treats a religious assembly or institution on less than equal terms with a nonreligious assembly or institution.

Nondiscrimination

No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation that discriminates against any assembly or institution on the basis of religion or religious denomination.

Exclusions and limits

No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation that--

 totally excludes religious assemblies from a jurisdiction;  or

 unreasonably limits religious assemblies, institutions, or structures within a jurisdiction.


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