Unpacking the ‘Separation of Church and State’ Distortion

(Washington Stand) In the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent string of pro-religious liberty decisions, including striking down a law that excluded religious schools in Maine from participating in a school voucher program and upholding the right to public prayer, many are claiming that by ruling in favor of religious organizations and individuals, the current Supreme Court is destroying the so-called constitutional idea of “separation of church and state.”

According to this line of reasoning, the state is part of the public square where religious beliefs are not to be expressed. Supposedly, if people of faith want to participate in the public square and engage in politics, they must leave their beliefs and convictions at the door.

However, contrary to popular belief, the phrase “separation of church and state” is found nowhere in our nation’s founding documents. Nor is the belief that people of faith should be excluded from engaging in the public square according to their convictions, the intended meaning of the First Amendment. The fact that so many people claim otherwise reveals the failure of many citizens to read our founding documents or to understand the historical context of America’s founding.  (Read More)