Before I go on to make my short argument on this matter, let me make it clear that I am in no respect an expert on the subject and all that follows is my opinion
From what I gather from my various readings there are two view points on the matter of separation of church and state. Some believe that the concept dates back to the founding of the nation and it was a concept meant to ensure our religious freedom. Others believe that it is a fairly recent concept made up by liberals to keep religion ( predominately Christianity) out of sight and out of mind. I tend to side with the former.
The one reason I side with the former is based on what I have learned of history. Just a little background on my learning, so you know where I am coming from. I was raised in a fairly conservative Christian home with my first three years of schooling coming from a private Christian school, (thus the history I learned had a decidedly Christian slant to it) I did develop a deep love for reading at a young age particularly for historical fiction. Eventually I relied on history channel and what research I did on my own to supplement my fascination with the subject. I honestly can’t remember anything specific I learned from history/social studies classes that I took at school. That being said I would like to say, yes I believe that the majority of our founders were Christian. It was the main religion within the colonies, it would be strange if they were not christian. Do I believe they were ardent believers who would give their lives up to the religion? No. I believe they were christian as most people who claim to be Christian are, they had a bible on the shelve and they went to church as was expected and they prayed before eating when they could remember it because it was engrained in their habits. They were not good and worthy men because of their religion, they were good and worthy men in spite of their religion. Religious phrases and words pervaded their writings because it was a normal part of their lives. Despite this though i believe they saw the benefit of the separation of church and state. They would have grown up knowing about the religious upheaval that occurred in Europe due to the meddling of the State within religion and religion in state. They would have seen the havoc it had wrought and wanted to prevent it from happening in the newly minted nation. I doubt they had the foresight to see the rise of other religious and non-religious populations within the nation but I believe the constitution is a living document and must be interpreted in context with the times.
All this brings me around to my larger point I wanted to make, separation of church and state is good for both the church and the state. The church doesn’t need the state mucking about in its purpose, to govern the moral attitude of its constituents. The last thing they would want is the state suddenly deciding what principles should be taught. Oh, the new president has the urge to have a whole harem of wives, well let’s make a whole new law requiring that it be taught that it is alright for him to do so within sunday school. Another example, the church won’t grant you a divorce, well why not make a whole new church who complies to my wishes. For those who are following that is what happened during Henry VIII reign. The church mucking about in state affairs is also bad for things. The church feels the need to cleanse all the non-believers, suddenly we have a state funded holy war on our hands. (Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition). This of course gets in the way of what I believe the state is for, to ensure the safety and basic rights of its constituents.
The so to conclude, the separation of church and state was and important idea that came about upon our country’s inception and it is important because it allows both entities to operate to their true purpose, something that cannot be done when they are joined.