As any ignorant theist will tell you, the phrase “separation of church and state” is not in the U.S. Constitution. This is, of course, technically true, but irrelevant. The First Amendment prohibits government sanctioning or endorsement of religion, despite not having those exact words. The problem is that we see violations all the time. We also see examples where religion gets preferential treatment. For example –
- “In God We Trust” as the national motto and on our currency
- Insertion of “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance
- References to God in government buildings
- Prayers at government functions
- Christmas trees on government property
- State license plates with religious mottos
- Tax breaks for clergy and churches
The latter example would be social policy dictated through taxation. In other words, the government is indirectly endorsing (or espousing) certain things through tax breaks (churches, home ownership) or hikes (“sin” taxes on alcohol and cigarettes).
As a government employee, I am keenly aware of these violations. I’ll post my thought later.
My question to you is: Do you care? Do these things bother you? If so, which ones? Are there other violations that bother you? Do you do anything about it?