Originally Posted by nelamvr6
That specific phrase is not found in the constitution, but the constitution does prohibit the establishment of an official religion.
The separation phrase was coined by Thomas Jefferson, one of the framers of the constitution, and the intent of the constitution's framers is clear, as it's spelled out in the first amendment.
No matter how much religious zealots would like to drag us back into ignorance, we will not have an official religion,and there WILL be a wall of separation between church and state.
One point of clarification: TJ was not a framer of the Constitution. He wrote the Declaration of Independence, but was in France during the summer of 1787 when the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia.
As to church vs. state, one could argue that the framers were more concerned with the state co-opting religion for its political ends (as in the Church of England), than with religion (in a generic sense) influencing government. Hence, we have "In God We Trust" on our currency.
Note in the First Amendment the phrase "establishment of religion." "Establishment" was understood by the framers to refer to a state church, such as the Church of England (ie, the Establishment).