What is This Thing You Call "Separation of Church and State"?Question: What does the phrase "separation of church and state" mean?
Answer: No one, not even the Supreme Court, really knows!
Isn't it amazing? One simple phrase written 218 years ago by wise men can turn a modern nation on it's head. The First Amendment to the US Constitution states:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..."
But the problem is not in the wording of the amendment. It is in selfish groups (both liberal and conservative) twisting the plain meaning of the words to meet their own hidden agendas.
In two heavily divided decisions on two amazingly similar cases, the nine Justices of the Supreme Court basically said that each case must be decided on its own merits. Read a quick article on the decisions here. Both cases concerned the display of the Ten Commandments around public buildings. Both decisions were split 5-4. One decision said let the commandments stand. The other said take it down. The “difference” you ask? How heavily the religion was “promoted!”
I say follow the amendment. Keep Congress from passing laws that "establish" a national religion but let them support all religions. Turn the managing of the "free exercise" of religion over to the states and communities. And for goodness sakes people, stop running to the Supreme Court with these silly little cases. They obviously can't make up their collective mind either.