For all of you conservatives who still use that lame argument that the exact phrase "separation of church and state" must be present in the Constitution in order for the principle in and of itself to exist, I guess at the same token we don't have the "right to a fair trial." Neither do we have the "right to free speech." Oh, and forget about the "right to warranted search and seizures." That said, it simpy DOESN’T MATTER if the EXACT phrase “separation of church and state” appears in the Constitution or not. Separation of church and state is IMPLIED -- and one doesn’t even have to look in the First Amendment for it (I’m not even addressing precedent either here, i.e. Lemon vs. Kurtzman).
Please refer to Article VI, Section III of the unamended Constitution: “but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Joseph Story comments:
“The remaining part of the clause declares, that 'no religious test shall ever be required, as a qualification to any office or public trust, under the United States.' This clause is not introduced merely for the purpose of satisfying the scruples of many respectable persons, who feel an invincible repugnance to any test or affirmation. It had a higher object: to cut off forever every pretence of any alliance between church and state in the national government. The framers of the constitution were fully sensible of the dangers from this source, marked out in history of other ages and countries; and not wholly unknown to our own. They knew, that bigotry was unceasingly vigilant in its own stratagems, to secure to itself an exclusive ascendancy over the human mind; and that intolerance was ever ready to arm itself with all the terrors of civil power to exterminate those, who doubted its dogmas, or resisted its infallibility.”

From: COMMENTARIES ON THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, by Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, Vol III, (1833)
pg 705)
by zyx August 19, 2005
17 more definitions
Top Definition
The seperation of church and state is implied in the 1st amendment with "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therof." This means that the state cannot force children to go to a public school or have a state based church. This is to protect everyone's religious views to the extent it does not harm another.
Buses can take kids to parochial and public schools becuase it is in the best interest of the children to have that transportation, but it cannot require a reciting of a prayer.
by K December 14, 2003
"separation of Church and State" as implied by the Constitution was originally intended to keep the government from dictating and controlling religion. Also, to keep the church from providing political puppets to rule in it's favor. It was never intended to be weilded as a device to eradicate all religous content from every government-sponsored activity.
by Mace October 15, 2003
The idea that government shall favor no religion for another or make no law that is bias toward one religion and not another.

What it does not say is that elected officials can not be religious. It says they should make no law that favors religion or display favoritism in a public government institution.

Putting a cross in the back of your office is fine, displaying a statue of the ten commandments in front of a court house is not.
What? Can't buy beer on Sundays in some states, that violates separation of Church and State.

What? "In God We Trust" on coinage, the government is favoring Christianity over other religions. I feel this violates separation of church and state. I shouldn't have to be preached inside of a court house or inside of a school. If I want to hear preaching, I could go to church or temple or a mosque or whatever else their is.
by booser March 19, 2005
Separation of Church and State is an ideology protecting religious freedom by ensuring government does not interfere to favor or disfavor private religious establishments so long as they practice without violating another's individual rights. The clause also protects from churches and other religious organizations interfering with government practices in an attempt to remove religious freedom so as to favor their beliefs. This clause proposes a metaphorical wall between government and religious establishments, unlike the one-way street idea proposed by fanatical religious theocrats.
Wiccan: You can't limit my freedom to worship in peace. We have separation of Church and State.

Radical Fundamentalist: No you don't! That clause represents a one-way street. Government is not to interfere with churches but churches can control the government and limit the rights of non-believers!

Wiccan: I hear Iran is lovely this time of year.
by Secularist June 19, 2011
In America, the purpose of separation of church and state is to avoid 'excessive entanglement' of the two institutions. An important court ruling on the subject led to the Lemon Test, which holds three conditions on a government's actions: that it must have a legitimate secular purpose, must not have the primary effect of either advancing or inhibiting religion, and must not result in an "excessive entanglement" of the government and religion.
Separation of church and state is essential to modern goverment.
by parody February 18, 2005
An important part of the Constitution that isn't literally written in said document. It's implied, under the reasoning that since we have freedom of religion, any leaning on the government's part toward any one religion would force everyone to only be a part of that religion, and violate their constitutional rights.
We need separation of church and state. Very badly. Especially with Dubya in office.
by DarkMillennia September 04, 2003
Perhaps the most ignored and misunderstood part of the 1st Amendment, even the whole damn Constitution. This concept derives from the establishment and free exercise clauses of the 1st Amendment.

The government CANNOT give preference to any religion, yet we still have "in God We Trust" on our currency, "One nation under God" in our Pledge of Allegiance, and legal marriage rights are dictated by the Church.

There may be no restrictions on religion.... well almost. Numerous Supreme Court cases have allowed for some restrictions (no polygamy for mormons, no peyote use for some native american religions, and no animal sacrifices for some religions, i guess) but these restrictions are for EVERYONE, not just against a particular group (so it's technically not discrimination).

Essentially, people are free to BELIEVE what they want (even if they aren't allowed to PRACTICE their beliefs in some cases) and people are free FROM religion.
Thank God (Ironic? I think not) that there is such a thing as Separation of Church and State. Imagine being forced to believe a certain way or being punished by law for believing something.

Marriage is both a legal and religious institution. WTF? Don't we have separation of church and state?

Guess what? I believe that a giant spaghetti monster sits on a throne of meatballs and laughs at all of humanity's follies. I can believe what I want.
by AnySensiblePerson September 15, 2009

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