First, this Court has decisively settled that the First Amendment's mandate that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" has been made wholly applicable to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment. Twenty-three years ago in Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U. S. 296, 303 (1940), this Court, through Mr. Justice Roberts, said:
"The fundamental concept of liberty embodied in that [Fourteenth] Amendment embraces the liberties guaranteed by the First Amendment. The First Amendment declares that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The Fourteenth Amendment 216*216 has rendered the legislatures of the states as incompetent as Congress to enact such laws. . . ."
In a series of cases since Cantwell the Court has repeatedly reaffirmed that doctrine, and we do so now. Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U. S. 105, 108 (1943); Everson v. Board of Education, supra; Illinois ex rel. McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U. S. 203, 210-211 (1948); Zorach v. Clauson, supra; McGowan v. Maryland, 366 U. S. 420 (1961); Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U. S. 488 (1961); and Engel v. Vitale, supra.
Second, this Court has rejected unequivocally the contention that the Establishment Clause forbids only governmental preference of one religion over another. Almost 20 years ago in Everson, supra, at 15, the Court said that "[n]either a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another." And Mr. Justice Jackson, dissenting, agreed:
"There is no answer to the proposition . . . that the effect of the religious freedom Amendment to our Constitution was to take every form of propagation of religion out of the realm of things which could directly or indirectly be made public business and thereby be supported in whole or in part at taxpayers' expense. . . . This freedom was first in the Bill of Rights because it was first in the forefathers' minds; it was set forth in absolute terms, and its strength is its rigidity."
Id., at 26.
217*217 Further, Mr. Justice Rutledge, joined by Justices Frankfurter, Jackson and Burton, declared:
"The [First] Amendment's purpose was not to strike merely at the official establishment of a single sect, creed or religion, outlawing only a formal relation such as had prevailed in England and some of the colonies. Necessarily it was to uproot all such relationships. But the object was broader than separating church and state in this narrow sense. It was to create a complete and permanent separation of the spheres of religious activity and civil authority by comprehensively forbidding every form of public aid or support for religion."
Id., at 31-32.
The same conclusion has been firmly maintained ever since that time, see Illinois ex rel. McCollum, supra, at pp. 210-211; McGowan v. Maryland, supra, at 442-443; Torcaso v. Watkins, supra, at 492-493, 495, and we reaffirm it now.