Albert Mohler: Supreme Court Signals an End to the “Lemon Test”

Among the decisions coming out of the Supreme Court this term was a big case on religious liberty. By a 7-2 margin, the court found that the memorial cross in Bladensburg, Maryland could remain. The 40-foot cross—now on public land—has honored the World War I dead for nearly a hundred years.

It’s an enormous win.

A very key take-away is what the court did with the “Lemon Test”—the test of the constitutionality of government involvement when it comes to religion.

The problem with the Lemon Test—resulting from a 1971 case—is that it has always been subjective and often used in ways that are hostile to religious expression.

In his concurring opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch declared simply, “Lemon was a misadventure”—and a majority of the justices made clear that “the Lemon Test” is no more.

That’s good news.

And by a convincing 7-2 majority, the Supreme Court of the United States said that the Bladensburg cross, and thus other similar crosses and religious expressions, can stand.

That, too, is very good news.