There was religious persecution in Britain and elsewhere in Europe. Official state religions were everywhere, and the dreamers who came from Europe wished to live free of this.
And when the generations sired by the original pilgrims to American won independence and wrote a Constitution for their new nation, freedom of religion was high on their list.
They wanted constitutional guarantees for individuals to worship as they wished, free of government intervention. So there was born the constitutional guarantees of separation of church and state. The "wall" between the state, the government, and religion is a bedrock of the American Dream. Over the years, it has been the role of our independent third branch of government -- the judiciary, with the Supreme Court at its top -- to rule on questions of whether this condition is a matter of law. The Court is also charged with ruling when freedom of religion has been breached.
Only the tough, close calls get to the Supreme Court. So it is with this latest case about whether voluntary student prayers should be allowed at high school football games.
It may seem like a small thing. But of such small things, important laws are made in an effort to keep alive the American Dream of freedom of religion.