it is an UNCONSTITUTIONAL notion. After a discussion yesterday with some friends, I've decided that from now on, whenever I hear that phrase used in conversation I am going to politely interrupt in order to assert this. What the constitution says on the subject [in one of the parts before the "in the year of our Lord" line...] is – and I quote, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”
So, out of the 5 words – “Separation of Church and State” – not a single one is actually found in the text of the constitution. If you insist on keeping the terminology, the Federal Constitution establishes the “Separation of Church and CONGRESS”,
though I would still strongly oppose that wording. Whatever ideas the framers of that Constitution had about the words they wrote, it didn’t stop them from formally requesting President Washington to declare ‘a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a constitution of government for their safety and happiness' on Sept 25th, 1789 – WHICH WAS THE SAME DAY THEY SENT THE FIRST AMENDMENT [and the rest of the Bill of Rights] TO THE STATES FOR RATIFICATION!!!
The first sentence of my State’s Constitution reads, “We, the People of the State of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberty…”
Now again, whatever “religious liberty” meant to the authors, it wasn’t something that precluded them from starting the state constitution with a doxological recognition of God's omnipotence and goodness. It is clear that their idea of “religious liberty” involved a lot more “liberty” than ours does today. Can you imagine if the next elected governor of Maryland began his first Gubernatorial speech with the words, “I, your newly-elected governor, being grateful to Almighty God for the blessings He has bestowed upon our state …”?! But here’s the bottom line – of all the outcry and objections that would result, not a one could claim such a statement to be … unconstitutional.