10 J. Legal Aspects Sport 129 (2000)
From the Gridiron to the United States Supreme Court: Defining the Boundaries of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause

handle is hein.journals/jlas10 and id is 137 raw text is: JLAS,10(3), 2000, 129-1 37
@2000 The Society for the Study of the Legal Aspects of Sport and Physical Activity
From the Gridiron to the United States
Supreme Court: Defining the boundaries of
the First Amendment's Establishment Clause
F. King Alexander, Ph. D.
Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Program Coordinator
Department of Educational Organization and Leadership
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ruth H. Alexander, Ed. D.
Distinguished Professor of Exercise and Sport Sciences
Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences
University of Florida
PO Box 118205
Gainesville, FL 32611-8205
(352) 392-0584 Fax (352) 392-5262

John Locke (1689) wrote that it is a funda-
mental responsibility of democratic government
to distinguish exactly the business of civil gov-
ernment from that of religion, and to settle the
just bounds that lie between one and the
other(pg. 27). Though simplistic in prescription,
Locke's revolutionary advice has proven to be
one of the most difficult challenges facing both
emerging and established democratic societies.
Unfortunately, few governments have successful-
ly distinguished the boundaries between civil and
church authority. Conflict over religion and the
role of religion in government remains at the
forefront of policy concerns throughout the
world. In Europe, the British government has
recurrently attempted to hold together a fragile
peace  agreement between    Catholics  and
Protestants over the fate of Northern Ireland,
where political and religious violence between
Christians has plagued the nation for nearly a
century. In Yugoslavia, religious differences
between Orthodox Christian Serbs and ethnic
Albanian Muslims has been at the core of a vio-

lent government effort to eradicate Muslim influ-
ence and control over the Yugoslav province of
Kosovo (Loeb & Smith, 1999). In Asia, religious
leaders in India are attempting to legislate pro-
Hindu state policies in a nation that has tradition-
ally kept civil and religious authority separated
(Dugger, 2000). In other nations such as Algeria,
Egypt, Iran, and Indonesia, secular governments
are struggling to prevent Muslim extremists from
taking control and imposing strict Muslim law.
Throughout the world, the reassertion of reli-
gious authority and the rise of sectarianism have
been the source of domestic violence and turmoil
as religious groups wage war against each other
hoping to influence governmental and societal
Even in the United States, popular concerns
regarding a perceived moral decline of its citi-
zens has fueled a resurgence of the religious right
who is threatening to tear down the wall of sep-
arationi between church and state. It is desired
by these religious advocates that a twenty-first
century government will help bring Christianity

Volume 10 e Number3 - Fall 2000 129

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