The Separation of Church and State: Have We Gone Too Far?

I. Abstract

As the ongoing debate over what exactly the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution means continues into the twenty-first century, the Supreme Court finds itself without a bright line rule proscribing where exactly America stands on the issue of "to what degree should America separate religion from state." Originating back to 1791 when the United States Constitution was officially ratified, the drafters granted freedom of and from religion to those who wished to be part of America. However, as time passed, this freedom of and from religion began to take on new interpretations that the original drafters of the Constitution may not have foreseen.

Taken literally, the Establishment Clause does not mention anything about a "separation between church and state." This notion, which came about through a letter written by President Jefferson to the Danbury Connecticut Baptist Association in an effort to support the Establishment Clause, has now become a major source of discussion in the Supreme Court. In fact, the Establishment Clause and this fiction of a "separation between church and state" have been the driving force in many Supreme Court decisions that have little to do with establishing a national religion. It seems as if they arise as a way for state institutions to stay politically correct, so to not offend the melting pot American religions.

Modern interpretations of the Constitution have allowed the Supreme Court to stretch the meaning of the Establishment Clause beyond its original intent. Recently the Supreme Court removed a two-and-a-half ton granite monument from a courtroom, using the Establishment Clause as its basis. The Supreme Court's recent interpretations of the Establishment Clause may be beneficial to the American society as a whole. This can be seen by way of comparison.

Contrary to the American system, Saudi Arabia's theocratic form of government leaves a non-existent separation between church and state. In fact, state and religion are so intertwined that the police have authority to arrest and whip violators of religious principles. With such abuse of visitors, it is no surprise that Saudi Arabia is among the world's worst in the progression of human rights. In addition, with the inability for citizens to change the legal structure, it leaves Saudi Arabia with an inflexible legal structure that is unable to adapt to the changing societal norms the world faces.

Thus, as societal norms evolve with time, it seems only logical to institute a legal structure that allows for change and reinterpretation of existing laws. Countries such as Saudi Arabia seem unable to meet the demands of changing societal norms and citizen morale. Although the American legal structure provides for legal interpretations that may not have been in the original intent of the drafters, it does allow for these interpretations to evolve with the ever-changing norms of the individuals that comprise the American society.

II. Introduction

January 1, 1802, a date that should be well known in American history, and yet possibly all of its significance may have been lost in the ruins of an ongoing debate that still prevails today.1 This date represents the creation of the phrase, "separation between church and state."2 However, the origins of the American relationship between church and state date back even further, to the adoption of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.3 The First Amendment of the Constitution provides that, "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."4 By these words, the drafters of the Constitution established that this country would not stand for either an official religion or restrictions on the freedom to practice any such religion. Today, the United States has progressed from a time when First Amendment restrictions on religion simply limited the government's power, to a day in which the Establishment Clause has been interpreted to target religious statements in state institutions. Although the evolution of the Establishment Clause has led to a drastic separation between church and state in the United States, only by comparing its system with a country that lacks complete separation between church and state can the United States realize the importance of maintaining some degree of separation between religious and state institutions.

III. Origin of the Phraseology: Separation Between Church and State

A. The Establishment Clause

"Congress shall make no law resecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."5 This language, taken from the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, is America's first look at the relationship between religion and state institutions. The effect of the Establishment Clause is two-fold. First, it restricts Congress' ability to establish an official religion. Second, the Establishment Clause restricts the government's ability to prohibit an individual's freedom to exercise any such religious practices. Taken literally, the Establishment Clause is the only provision in the United States Constitution that discusses the relationship religion and state have with one another.6 Even so, based solely on the first article of the United States Constitution, which denies the government the ability to proscribe a national religion, a certain degree of separation between religion and state has already been established. Without further documentation, the Establishment Clause would be the only source for information regarding the relationship between church and state in America. Therefore, in order to fuel the fire of the extended debate, further documentary evidence of such a separation must be found.7

B. A Derivation from a General Interpretation of the First Amendment

At first glance, the phraseology "separation between church and state" appears to be an interpretation of the Establishment Clause in the United States Constitution. Rather, the terminology is simply a derivation from a general interpretation of the First Amendment. It was the result of "an inference made from a letter [President Thomas] Jefferson sent to the Danbury Connecticut Baptist Association on January 1, 1802."8 President Jefferson was responding to a letter written by the Danbury Baptist Association expressing concern about individual religious liberty and its place in the new nation at the time Jefferson's presidency was being initiated.9 President Jefferson agreed with the religious association that "religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God."10 Affirming the Establishment Clause within his letter, Jefferson rested any fears the association may have had by expressing his convictions that Congress would "make no law respecting an establishment of a religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, 'thus building a wall of separation between church and state.'"11 And thus, the nation's concept of a "separation between church and state" was born.

In his letter, the president was quoting the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."12 Thus, from a simple correspondence, the American notion that religion and government should be kept separate in order to maintain its system of checks and balances emerged. It should be noted that modern interpretations of both the Establishment Clause and Jefferson's creation of the dicta, "separation of Church and State," have been a driving force behind both legislative and judicial decisions, an intention the drafters (President Jefferson and the drafters of the Establishment Clause) may not have considered.13

IV. America's Stance on Establishment Clause Cases

A. The Supreme Court is Unwilling to Set a Per Se Rule with Regards to Establishment Clause Violations.

While the Establishment Clause puts restrictions on the rights of the government with regards to religion, it does not require a complete separation of church and state.14 In fact, "some relationship between government and religious organizations is inevitable."15 The Establishment Clause "affirmatively mandates accommodations, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any."16

With this in mind, it is important to note that throughout history, religion has not been kept wholly separate from the institutions of state. In fact, Congress, in conjunction with the Treasury, maintains the stamp "In God We Trust" on the currency of the United States, and the Judiciary is yet to ban the closing to the Pledge of Allegiance, which proclaims that America is "one nation under God."17 Such religious interventions prevent the Judiciary from taking a bright line approach with Establishment Clause cases, noting that "an absolutist approach in applying the Establishment Clause is simplistic and has been uniformly rejected by the Court."18

Accordingly, the Court has taken an ad hoc approach to cases involving the Establishment Clause, reviewing the surrounding circumstances in each case individually.19 "The Establishment Clause, like the Due Process Clauses, is not a precise, detailed provision in a legal code capable of ready application. The purpose of the Establishment Clause 'was to state an objective, not to write a statute.'"20 Therefore, "the line between permissible relationships and those barred by the Clause can no more be straight and unwavering than due process can be defined in a single stroke or phrase or test."21 This is because the Clause erects a "blurred, indistinct, and variable barrier depending on all the circumstances of a particular relationship."22 Because of this inability to create a bright line rule, courts have sought to discover a way to determine whether a challenged law or conduct is in violation of the Establishment Clause.

Over time, the ad hoc inquiry into the circumstances of individual cases has led the Court to look at a myriad of factors that motivate individual behaviors and conduct. The Court has determined, under the Lemon test, that to avoid conflict with the Establishment Clause, the legislation or conduct in question must have a secular legislative purpose, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion, and it must not foster excessive government entanglement with religion.23 However, although the Lemon test has become a primary decision-making tool, it is important to remember the emphasis the Court has placed on its "unwillingness to be confined to any single test or criterion in this sensitive area."24

B. The American Judiciary Stands Strong Behind the Separation

After years of legal and social evolution and interpretation, the Establishment Clause has not only retained its literal meaning, but has taken on broader interpretations. In recent decisions, increasing numbers of states have used the Establishment Clause to challenge the legitimacy of religious expressions in state institutions.25 Such cases demonstrate a desire to mandate a high degree of separation between religious domination in state matters.26 However, as previously noted, the Supreme Court has been hesitant to instate a per se rule, but as directed its efforts in Establishment Clause cases towards a case by case analysis.27 Even this case by case analysis has faced scrutiny, giving the Court even more leeway in its varying decision-making tactics. For example, in Marsh v. Chambers, the Court dismissed the Lemon test and examined whether there "exists any impermissible motive or indication that such prayer opportunity is being used to exploit, proselytize, advance or disparage any other faith or belief."28 With this disparity in examining techniques for Establishment Clause cases, it is important to look at recent Supreme Court interpretations of the Establishment Clause.

Where a monument is placed in a government building for a non-secular purpose and has the primary effect of endorsing religion with no historical background, the placing of the monument is in violation of the Establishment Clause.29 In Moore, the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court placed a two-and-a-half ton granite monument engraved with the Ten Commandments (and other references to God) in an Alabama State Judicial Building.30 The monument portrayed the Ten Commandments as the "moral foundation of law."31 Justice Moore specified that by the term "God," he specifically meant the "Judeo-Christian God of the Holy Bible and not the God of any other religion."32 Installed without the knowledge of the other eight justices (including their opinions on the size, shape, color, location and wording on the monument), the monument was immediately visible upon entering the building.33 The Court held that "for a practice to survive an Establishment Clause challenge, it 'must have a secular legislative purpose, . . . its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion, . . . [and it] must not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion.'"34 The Court reasoned that the Chief Justice, by placing the monument in the courthouse, had both a non-secular legislative purpose, and the primary effect of advancing religion.35 Therefore, the Court held that the monument had to be removed because it violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause.36

It should be noted that there exists a gray area in Establishment Clause cases where a line must be drawn between actions that constitute violations of the Establishment Clause because they "foster excessive government entanglement with religion," and actions whose religious affect are secondary to its secular motive.37 For instance, in Moore, the Court noted that its decision should be construed narrowly because "the Court believes it is important to clarify at the outset that the Court does not hold that it is improper in all instances to display the Ten Commandments in government buildings; nor does the Court hold that the Ten Commandments are not important, if not on of the most important sources of American law."38 It seems that even when courts have been compelled to decide whether a conduct or legislation is in violation of the Establishment Clause, the institution refuses to set precedent in this sensitive area by way of narrow construction.

So, where is the separation between church and state presently? In summation, President Jefferson's simple correspondence to the Danbury Connecticut Baptist Association, which had intentions of reinforcing the Constitution by limiting Congress' ability to declare a national religion or church, has been reinterpreted so many times that it might be possible that the true meaning of both the Establishment Clause and the "separation between church and state" have been lost in dictum.

Although the Supreme Court has established that to some degree, religion and state must be kept separate, it cannot be said that religion has not been an important source in American Law.39 It is important to remember that although religion may play a part in the foundation of the American Legal System, the very existence of a single established American religion is prohibited in the foundation of the country's legal system, the Constitution.40 Whatever President Jefferson intended by "building a wall of separation between Church and State," it is clear that without the ability to establish a single religion, there will always be a separation (although not always a perfectly clear separation) between religion and the state.

C. The Flexibility of the Common Law System Allows the Supreme Court to Take an Ad-Hoc Approach to Establishment Cases

The Court's "unwillingness to be confined to any single test" should leave citizens with a feeling of uneasiness with its stance on the Establishment Clause. In essence, the court has determined that although it is certain that "some relationship between government and religious organizations is inevitable,"41 it is not certain to what degree it should exist. This uncertainty leaves the Court with the only objective standard it could create: restricting legislation that has no secular purpose, no primary effect other than inhibiting or advancing religion, and no excessive government entanglement with religion.42

This lack of a per se rule leaves the Court without a clear perception of where to draw a line in cases that inevitably mix religion into the institutions of state. However, in contract to a civil law system, the nature of the American legal system allows for such ambiguity to exist.43 The American common law system is derived from the English common law system, which is a legal structure that relies upon judicial precedent to make legislative interpretations.44 Because each court has the power to interpret and modify legislative enactments, the American legal system allows for legal flexibility and adaptation through interpretation.45 Within this genre, there exists the ability to instantaneously resolve an issue and arrive at a verdict that modifies an existing law.46 This flexibility within the American legal system is what gives the Supreme Court, and its lower counterparts, the ability to resolve Establishment Clause issues without such a bright line rule. Therefore, although the foundation of the separation between church and state is engrained in the very foundation upon which the United States lies, the subtleties and interpretations of the modern American view of the "separation between church and state" can and will evolve with the constantly changing societal norms.

V. Some Degree Between Church and State is Necessary for the Good of Society

The Saudi Arabian Legal and Social Structure is Examined

By way of the Establishment Clause, the United States has built a system that inherently creates a certain degree of separation between religion and state.47 This degree of separation should not be taken for granted. For example, countries operating under Shar'ia, or Islamic Law, have little to no separation between religion and state, leaving most Islamic nations under a theocratic type of government.48 In order to make a valid comparison of the different degrees of separation and the role it plays in society, a basic understanding of the Islamic legal and social structure must be achieved.

i. Separation Between Religion and State in Saudi Arabia

Founded in 1932, Saudi Arabia is an Islamic Nation that strictly enforces Islamic principles on both its citizens and guests of the country.49 Saudi Arabia requires that its citizens be Muslim, and prohibits citizens from converting religions.50 The official religion is the Wahabi branch of Sunni Islam, a stringent sect of the religion that reflects the practices of Islam as they were performed during the life of Muhammad.51

Similar to the United States Constitution, the Saudi Arabian Constitution sets forth the degree of separation between religion and state in its first article.52 Article One of the Saudi Arabian Constitution states, "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a sovereign Arab Islamic state with Islam as its religion; God's Book and the Sunnah of His Prophet, God's prayers and peace be upon him, are its constitution, Arabic is its language and Riyadh is its capital."53 This article dictates the official religion, legal system, capital, and language of Saudi Arabia.

The first article of the Saudi Arabian Constitution by itself proscribes to some degree the nation's stance on a separation between religion and state.54 However, contrary to the United States, the Saudi Arabian notion of separating church and state is non-existent because religion is state. Article One of the Saudi Arabian Constitution proscribes that Islam is the foundation of the country, both religiously and secularly.55

ii. Religion and State are so Intertwined that the Entire Legal System is Based on Religious Principles - Shar'ia: Islamic Law

Islam proscribes not only what the devout Muslim should believe about the heavens, but also the way he should live if he wishes to find God's favor.56 Everything, from the religious beliefs to the way a Muslim should live, is described within the Koran.57 In fact, religion is so inextricably intertwined with state matters that there is no true distinction between religion, state, or law. Therefore, the mannerisms, words, and actions of both Allah and Muhammad have become codified legal principles that are based on the religion, regulating the conduct and social interactions of all Muslims in commercial, domestic, criminal, political, and devotional practices.58 This codification is known as Shar'ia.59

Shar'ia is based on the actions and words of Muhammad as dictated in the Sunnah.60 Therefore, the law only deals with situations that Muhammad would have experienced during his lifetime rather than those situations that may potentially have arisen in a broader sense.61 For example, the Pagan Arabians practiced infanticide, or the killing of baby girls.62 Muhammad outlawed such a practice.63 Similarly, the Arabians did not practice euthanasia, so Muhammad did not rule on its legality under Islamic law.64 Like American courts today, Muhammad did not attempt to ban practices that were so deeply engrained in society that the rejection of them would cause rejection of his entire message.65

As Muhammad was beginning his plight to replace false idols with Allah, he was confronted with numerous legal obstacles.66 At the time, law and religion were so intertwined that "an attack on religion was a violation of law."67 Muhammad's abandonment of idolatry in favor of monotheism eventually prevailed, making the Koran the basic source of both religion and legislation, with the Sunnah following close behind.68

It was previously noted that the Koran is the actual word of God, passed along to Muhammad as Allah's final message.69 If the Koran is Allah's last revelation, and Shar'ia is based upon those revelations, how can Islamic law evolve with mankind? This is a very difficult question to answer. Shar'ia evolves with history because it is written by man, unlike the Koran.70 Shar'ia is based on both the Koran and the Sunnah, which can both be quite vague at times.71 These two books frequently contradict on another.72 There have been continuous efforts to codify Shar'ia because it would give believers a more rigid law by which to abide by, but such efforts have been unsuccessful.73

Shar'ia has evolved and transformed from the laws of the uneducated Arabians into a codified version based upon the Koran and Sunnah.74 However, it is not so codified that deviation from the Koran is impermissible.75 Shar'ia has gradually developed over time to conform to the changing world.76 Legalists have applied the principles of religion to situations beyond the comprehensibility of Muhammad.77 However, just because Islamic jurisprudence has evolved over the years does not make it a flexible form of law.78 Taking into consideration the ability of common law to change overnight, Islamic jurisprudence looks unbendable.

iii. Saudi Arabia's Non-Existent Separation Between Religion and State Created a Very Strict Religious Presence in Secular Structures

Saudi Arabia's distinction between religion and state is non-existent.79 In fact, religion and state are so inextricably intertwined that Saudi Arabia has divided their enforcement agencies into two sections: religious police and civil police.80 Islam's laws and morals are firmly enforced by the religious police, known as the Matawain.81 Such police even enforce the dress code in public.82 With full civil authority to arrest violators of Shar'ia principles, visitors of the country may find themselves confronted with a camel whip on a street corner if their dress does not conform to Islamic principles.83 In fact, where civil and religious jurisdictions overlap, the civil authorities defer to the Matawain.84

As expected, the Matawain have been the subject of many scholars in the human rights sector.85 However, it is not only the Matawain that are questioned by the human rights scholars. The Saudi Arabian government's human rights effort is quite inefficient.86 Both the Matawain and civil police have been noted for their continued abusive conduct to detainees and prisoners.87 The abuse was so problematic that the Council of Ministers recently had to approve a new law regarding punitive measures, allowing those accused of crimes to hire a legal agent.88 As engrained with human rights as this legislation is, it had to conform with Islamic principles of Shar'ia before being passed by the legislature of Saudi Arabia. The legislation had to conform to such principles because the government views "its interpretation of Islamic law as its sole source of guidance on human rights."89 However, prolonged detention without charge is still problematic, and the Matawain continue to intimidate, abuse, and detain citizens and foreigners. Saudi Arabia is currently considered one of the world's least progressive countries in the area of human rights.90 In fact, even if Saudi Arabian citizens desired change, they have neither the right nor the legal means to change their government.91

iv. The Saudi Arabian Citizens' Inability to Modify the Existing Government Stems from an Inflexible Legal System

The lack of rights and legal means to make changes in the Saudi Arabian government may stem from a number of things. The inflexibility engrained in the Saudi Arabian legal system provides insight into why such rights do not exist in their culture. In contrast to the American common law system, which was based on English common law, Saudi Arabia is structured as a variation of the Roman civil law system.92 The Roman civil law system, a system where the laws are codified, gives the courts less leeway than the common law system provides for in the interpretation of law.93 Unlike American common law, where the laws are changed almost instantaneously through precedent and judicial interpretation, civil law requires an act of legislation to modify existing law.94 The problem inherent in civil law systems is a lack of flexibility.95 In order to change a law under civil code, the law under questioning has to be raised, a new law has to be brought to the legislature and drafted, and finally, the new law has to pass voting with a fifty-one percent majority vote.96 This process can take years.97 If this codification of laws is taken a step further, and the legislature is made up of God (in contrast to normal civil law where the legislature is made up of representatives), changing God's law involves claiming that God's original law was incorrect, a bold proposition to make.98 In other words, the only way to amend a law written by God is to find a man-made misinterpretation of God's word.99 This process is more inflexible than even civil law, making legal evolution in Saudi Arabia even more difficult than most other jurisprudences.100

VI. Some Degree of Separation Between Religion and State is Mandatory to Maintain an Efficient Society

The discussion of Saudi Arabia's strict theocratic government should give a striking example of a society that is run quite differently from the United States. Where the United States seeks to prevent the intervention of religion into state, Saudi Arabia strictly prevents its citizens from having the rights, legally or socially, to separate religion from the institutions of state. Thus, the underlying question becomes: "to what degree of separation between religion and state is necessary to run an efficient society."

Legal principles in any sense are based upon the current social norms. For example, "what was considered a crime in colonial times [America] hinged upon community morals."101 In colonial America, punishments, which were used to set examples to communities at large, included public hangings, whipping posts, and the removal of body parts (usually in relation to the crime, i.e. removal of a tongue on a gossiping woman).102 Today, such punishments are seen as morally reprehensible and are prohibited in the United States because current social norms have become more progressive as the human rights effort continues. Since such societal norms and morals are the basis of law, the law must be modified as these norms and morals change.

It should become clear then that a legal system providing for a flexible attitude towards the law is only fitting for a constantly changing world. Is it possible to entertain the notion of a society that provides for an official religion with a limited, if not non-existent separation between religion and state, while at the same time still retaining the ability to adapt and evolve? It appears not. As Saudi Arabia has demonstrated, an inflexible legal structure, leads to a society where people are whipped for having a shirt that does not conform with local laws.

Saudi Arabia has been noted as being among the world's worst in the progression of human rights.103 The human rights movement is based on a system of moral and religious beliefs. Thus, it should seem unimaginable that a country whose laws are based upon a system of moral and religious beliefs could find themselves at the bottom of a list proscribing the world's progression in human rights. However, it seems Saudi Arabia is in this exact situation. Saudi Arabia demonstrates the non-existent "wall of separation between church and state," and prides itself on the laws of Allah and religious principles. Yet Saudi Arabia is unable to conform to the evolving worldview of human rights.104 This leads to the conclusion that such a system, one where religion and state are of the same being, is unable to evolve quickly enough to conform with the constantly changing societal norms and expectations of the modern world. This statement is especially true when the system provides its citizens with neither the right, nor the legal means, to change the governmental structure Saudi Arabia presents.105

Thus, the Establishment Clause, although it has been reinterpreted numerous times, still creates an inherent separation between the institutions of religion and state. This separation, in combination with America's common law system and its ability to instantaneously change laws, allows for a more efficient society because legal systems are based upon societal norms and such norms are bound to change.


  1. The debate over church and state separation is fundamentally a debate about the meaning of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. One side of the debate believes that the Constitution gives the government the power to regulate some aspects of religion, and that the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment only bars the establishment of a national church. The other side believes that the Constitution restricts all power the government has with regards to religion, and that the Establishment Clause should be broadly read to ban all types of interference with religion. For a better understanding of each sides position in the debate, please consult the following website from where this information was obtained. Accessed 3/1/03.
  2. Under the Influence: How Christianity Transformed Civilization, Alvin J. Schmidt, Zondervan, Michigan, 2001. Pg. 267.
  3. The Constitution is a written document that serves as the foundation for the law of the United States. Originally, the Constitution was written in 1787, and became effective when the ninth state, New Hampshire, ratified the document on June 21, 1788. In 1791, the states approved the ten amendments to the Constitution. These ten Amendments are known as the Bill of Rights. A part of the First Amendment deals with the government's power over religion. For more information please consult: Accessed 3/1/03.
  4. United States Constitution, Article 1.
  5. Id.
  6. United States Constitution
  7. Accessed 3/1/03
  8. Under the Influence: How Christianity Transformed Civilization, Alvin J. Schmidt, Zondervan, Michigan, 2001. Pg. 267.
  9. Accessed April 9, 1996.
  10. Id.
  11. Id. For a complete listing of the correspondence between President Jefferson and the Danbury Connecticut Association, please consult: April 9, 1996.
  12. United States Constitution, Article 1.
  13. Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S.306,312, 72 S.Ct. 679, 683, 96 L.Ed. 954 (1952); Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398, 422, 83 S.Ct. 1790, 1803, 10 L.Ed. 2d 965 (1963). There are a myriad of examples where the Supreme Court uses the Establishment Clause and the notion of separation religion from state. The above cases are just a few examples.
  14. Zorach v. Clauson at 312; Sherbert v. Verner at 422.
  15. Id.
  16. See, e.g., Zarach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306, 314, 315, 72 S.Ct. 679, 684, 96 L.Ed. 954 (1952); McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203, 211, 68 S.Ct. 461, 465, 92 L.Ed. 649 (1948).
  17. Lynch v. Donnelly, 104 S.Ct. 1355, 1361 (1984).
  18. Id. at 1362
  19. Id.
  20. Lemon v. Kurtzman, 91 S.Ct. 2105, 2112, 403 U.S. 602, 604 (1971).
  21. Lynch at 1362.
  22. Lemon at 604
  23. Lemon at 612, 613.
  24. See e.g. Tilton v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 672, 677-678, 91 S.Ct. 2091, 2095, 29 L.Ed. 2d 790 (1971).
  25. Glassroth v. Moore, 229 F. Supp. 2d. 1290 (M.D. Ala. 2002)
  26. Id.
  27. Lemon at 612, 613.
  28. Marsh v. Chambers, 103 S.Ct. 3330, 3337 (1983).
  29. Glassroth at 1290.
  30. Id. at 1291.
  31. Id.
  32. Id.
  33. Id.
  34. Id. at 1299
  35. Id.
  36. Id.
  37. Lemon v. Kurtzman, 91 S.Ct. 2105, 2111 (1971).
  38. Glassroth at 1290.
  39. Id.
  40. United States Constitution, Article 1
  41. Zorach at 312. Also see, Sherbert at 422.
  42. Lemon at 613.
  43. Robert Bickford, LL.M at Kinberg & Bickford P.A., Melbourne, Florida.
  44. Id.
  45. Id.
  46. Id.
  47. United States Constitution, Article 1.
  48. Saudi Arabian Constitution, Article 1. Note: Adopted in 1992, the constitution of Saudi Arabia declared the country a monarchy, ruled by the heirs of King Abd Al Aziz Al Saud. Political parties and national elections do not exist. However, the king's powers are limited by Shar'ia and other Saudi traditions. Over time, Saudi Arabia has developed a central government. Since 1953, the Council of Ministers, appointed by the king, advises the king on general policy issues, although the role of the council is gradually expanding as it gains experience. The council is made up of a prime minister, the first and second deputy prime ministers, twenty ministers (of whom the minister of defense is also the second deputy prime minister, two ministers of state, and a small number of advisors and heads of major autonomous organizations. All legislation is a product of the council, but must be ratified by the king and be in coherence with the principles of Shar'ia. For more information regarding this subject, please consult: Accessed 2/10/03.
  49. Kiss Bow, and Shake Hands at 322.
  50. Id.
  51. Id.
  52. Saudi Arabian Constitution, Article 1
  53. Id.
  54. Id.
  55. Id.
  56. Understanding Islam at 72.
  57. At the foundation of the religion lies the Koran, Allah's message to humanity. Transmitted to the Muslim world from the hands of Allah to the angel Gabriel, the Koran made its way into the hands of the prophet Muhammad over a period of twenty-three years (610 CE to 622 CE). The Koran however, is not the sole basis forming the body of Islam, as the religion prides itself on both the Koran and the Sunnah, or the words of the Prophet. Although it was inspired by Allah, the Sunnah is comprised of the "words and actions" of the prophet, and helps to explain the Koran. In addition, the Koran is directly from the mouth of Allah, with no alteration or translation through the prophets. Because the Koran is considered the final message sent by Allah, the Islamic culture considers it both an obligation and a privilege to read and understand the transcriptions it holds. The Koran is a continuation of the Jewish scriptures, recounting stories of Moses, Joseph, Abraham, and others. It lacks however, the dramatic stories and sense of humor that can be found within both the old and new testaments. Because it is the direct word of Allah, the Koran is the source of law, inspiration, and knowledge. It can not be compared to the Christian bible, although it was a continuation of such. Both the Christian and Jewish testaments were written by men in multiple languages. The Muslims believe the Koran was dictated by God to Muhammad, who was chosen to pass his word along in a single language over a period of twenty years. Further, Christians often learn other languages, so they may pass on the knowledge of the bible to those who do not speak their language. Conversely, Muslims will only recite the Koran in Arabic chants, as a Koranic recitation is an established profession. All information contained in this footnote was taken from It was accessed on 1/21/03. Additional information was obtained from Understanding Islam at 55, 56, and 58.
  58. As a community who believes that "there is no God but God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God," Muslims worship one all-powerful deity known as Allah. Allah should not be too far of a stretch for followers of both the Christian and Jewish faiths because Muhammad, who in accordance with Islamic principles is the last prophet in a line of prophets including Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, preached that Allah is the only god, "the God of the Jews and Christians." In essence, Muslims believe that since the time of Abraham, there has only been one religion and one God. This God, Allah, sent his messengers and prophets to reveal his message to his people and inform them of what he expected. Because Muhammad is considered the last and final prophet, no further revelations or messengers are expected. All information in this footnote was obtained from Understanding Islam: An introduction to the Muslim World, Thomas W. Lippman. Pg 5,6.
  59. Understanding Islam at 72.
  60. Id.
  61. Id.
  62. Id.
  63. Id.
  64. Id.
  65. Id.
  66. Khadduri, Majid, Islamic Jurisprudence. The Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, Maryland. 1961. Pg. 4.
  67. Id.
  68. Id.
  69. Understanding Islam at 72.
  70. Id.
  71. Id.
  72. Id.
  73. Id.
  74. Id. at 73.
  75. Id.
  76. Id.
  77. Id.
  78. Id.
  79. The Saudi Arabian government is so intertwined with religion, that the country is home to Islam's two holiest cities, Makkah (Mecca) and Madina (Medina). Each year, hundreds of thousands of Muslims from all regions of the world come to make the pilgrimage to Makka. Although entry into Makkah and Madinah is prohibited to non-Muslims, areas outside of the cities can be utilized to get an idea of what the pilgrimage is about. In fact, non-Muslims may not even enter Saudi Arabia without an invitation and sponsorship from a prominent Saudi citizen. In addition, visitation rights into Saudi Arabia are not guaranteed. Visitors must obtain an entry visa from the Saudi embassies before arrival. Such passports are required to be valid for a period of at least six months after the proposed visitation date. Along with the visa application from a Saudi Sponsor, visitors must receive a letter of invitation. In addition, for permission to work or do business within the country (rather than just visiting), the requirements become even more stringent. For a business visa, the visa application must be accompanied by an "original copy of a letter from a Saudi company, in Arabic, on company letterhead sponsoring the applicant, stamped by a Chamber of Commerce in Saudi Arabia." Further, the business applicant must have a letter from the applicant's company "indicating the name of the Saudi Arabian sponsoring company, the nature of the applicant's visit, the length of stay, and financial responsibility. The letter must include the corporate stamp or seal." This process is not an easy undertaking. The above information was retrieved from the following sources: Understanding Islam at 323 and 325, and EnglishSite/saudi1.htm. This site was accessed on 2/13/03.
  80. Kiss, Bow, and Shake Hands at 323.
  81. Id. at 329.
  82. Id.
  83. Id.
  84. Id.
  85. EnglishSite/saudi1.htm. Accessed 2/4/03.
  86. Id.
  87. Id.
  88. Id.
  89. Id.
  90. Id.
  91. Accessed 3/1/03.
  92. Robert Bickford, LL.M at Kinberg & Bickford P.A., Melbourne, Florida.
  93. Id.
  94. Id.
  95. Id.
  96. Id.
  97. Id.
  98. Id.
  99. Id.
  100. Id.
  101. Accessed 3/22/03.
  102. Id.
  104. Id.
  105. Id.
Copyright © 2003 Brian J. Hershorin, All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be reproduced without the express written permission of the copyright holder. If you use a quotation, excerpt or paraphrase of this article, except as otherwise authorized in writing by the author of the article you must cite this article as a source for your work and include a link back to the original article from any online materials that incorporate or are derived from the content of this article.

This article was last reviewed or amended on Jan 17, 2015.