What does that phrase really mean?
It does not appear in the Constitution. I would assume that it comes from the First Amendment, which prohibits government establishment of religion. I agree that any one religion should not be taught in the public schools as the right religion or the best religion. However, I feel that ignoring religion altogether will create entire generations of people who do not understand our roots and the foundation of our country, which, despite many people who say otherwise, began based on religious principles and the desire for religious freedom. That is to say, the freedom to practice whatever religion one decides.
In today's world, the first amendment seems to be taken to mean the freedom from religion.
I don't know about everyone else, but my religion is a big part of who I am. Most of my choices are founded in my religious beliefs, whether consciously or subconsciously. Many people base their decisions and their actions on their religious beliefs, or the lack thereof. I cannot separate my religious beliefs from who I am because I am my religion. It is the reason behind so much of how I view the world (all pessimism aside--my religion certainly doesn't teach that).
In conclusion, I guess what I'm getting at is the very idea of "separation of church and state" doesn't work, in the sense that a religious politician, or an anti-religious one, bases his or her decisions and platform on their beliefs, which stem from that. So the truth is that there really is no separation, as far as the individual is concerned.
What do you think?