This installment in the "American Politics" series presents the debate surrounding a basic principle of the Constitution, providing a thorough background on the "wall of separation between the Church and State" and why Jefferson found it imperative to building a democracy. Taking into account the diverse interpretations that can be fashioned from the initially simple concept, Evans cites Supreme and lower court rulings, arguments that preceded them, and the constant struggle to ensure that no US citizen is impelled by the government to act either for or against his or her religious beliefs. The poorly reproduced b&w photos here serve mainly to break up the text: official group portraits of the Supreme Court (contemporary judges are named, past judges are not), a watery view of an Amish buggy bearing a slow-vehicle triangle, and stock scenes from the film Inherit the Wind fail to enhance the lucidly expressed ideas. Still, a sturdy research tool with a provocative overview of the issues. Further reading; index.