This question has been at the center of public debate for decades, as atheist activists, in particular, have advanced the notion that the nation's founders envisioned a particularly fervent imposition of the segregation of God and government. But is this really the case?
Dr. John Eastman, a distinguished law professor at Chapman University, told TheBlaze that he believes these non-believers have their story wrong.
"They think the phrase separation of church and state is the First Amendment," he said, going on to note that these words don't appear anywhere in the U.S. Constitution.
Just in case you need a refresher, the amendment reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The first line creates the most contention, as it involves two separate religious articles -- the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses. It is the former that most atheist activists tend to focus on, and according to Eastman, their assessments are generally wrong-headed.