A daunting welter of variables confronts anyone who sets out to systematize the First Amendment's effect on the government's role in regulating social services operated by religious organizations. The task is further complicated because the regulations in question often were promulgated as a consequence of the monitoring that inevitably accompanies government spending on private-sector welfare programs. The most suitable methodology should take into account: 1) the nature of the organizations that are the object of the government's regulation or program of aid; 2) the interrelationship between government and religious organizations that results from the regulation or aid; and 3) the difference, if any, in the First Amendment's application to regulations benefitting religion through use of its spending power as opposed to those burdening religious organizations through police power oversight.
Carl H. Esbeck, Government Regulation of Religiously Based Social Services: The First Amendment Considerations, 19 Hastings Const. L.Q. 343 (1992)