"Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" - from memory as I have fought this fight many times.Originally Posted by itld
"Separation of church and state" - a quote from a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote to church leaders to battle criticism that the establishment clause would have the effect of moving religious power from the state to the feds. It is NOT in the constitution.
The reality is that the constitution only says that no laws can be made that establish a state religion. Thus the title "establishment clause". Also that the right to freely exercise your religion must be preserved.
the other side of this of course is that the courts do have the right to pervert the law by using evolving precedence to make decisions rather than the actual constitution. This is an unfortunate mistake of the founders and one that I'm afraid we are forced to live with.