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
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"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
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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.
by parody February 18, 2005
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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
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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
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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
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