Chris Steves and others: The due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution confers the rights and restrictions of the First Amendment to the states and local governments as well. This includes the establishment clause of the First Amendment. As such, states and local government are in fact not free to establish whatever religion they choose.
In the 1947 majority opinion of the landmark Everson v. Board of Education, Justice Black writes: "The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither 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. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State."