CBM Ministries operates a afterschool Bible Education program in Pennsylvania. To transport the students to the program they use a bus, however, one day a state trooper cited the bus driver for violating the bus safety laws. CMB Ministries filed a lawsuit, claiming the traffic law substantially burdened their religious expression. Learn more: FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.
Can you claim the First Amendment to get out of a ticket?
CBM Ministries operates a release time Bible education program in Pennsylvania. Release time allows public school students to be released during the school day for religious classes located off campus, often times at a local church. But, it’s not the release time that is at issue in this case. It’s the way the students get from school to the church.
When one of the drivers showed up at the school to pickup the kids, a state trooper noticed that the bus was not properly inspected. The trooper cited the driver for violating state law concerning school bus safety.
As you might expect, without buses to safely transport students from school to release time education and back, CBM Ministries had a problem. So, they filed a lawsuit.
The lawsuit claimed that the enforcement of school bus safety laws on CBM Ministries’ vehicles substantially burdened its religious exercise. The court acknowledged that the law may have had an incidental impact upon the ministry’s religious exercise, but it was actually entirely neutral towards religion. In other words, the law regulated school buses, whether used for religious or secular purposes. The law did not discriminate, nor was it applied in a discriminatory manner.
Religious liberty protects against laws that discriminate on the basis of religion, but it probably won’t get you out of that speeding ticket.