On a recent broadcast, Rush Limbaugh said that this is how liberals interpret separation of church and state and the First Amendment: According to Rush, liberals think the First Amendment proscribes people like Pat Robertson or other religious people from running for office.
Rush may not have finished college but he knows full well that liberals don't think separation of church and state means religious people can't run for office.
What liberals believe vis a vis separation of church and state is that religious people shouldn't be able to use government to impose their religion on people who don't share their religion.
Some "issues" would vanish if religious people stopped trying to use government to impose their religion on the rest of us. Take same sex marriage, for instance.
The idea that marriage can only be "between one man and one women" is a religious idea. Without this religious definition of what a marriage is, there would be no basis for denying two men to marry each other or two women to marry each other. If same sex marriage were being opposed on grounds other than religious grounds, there would be no violation of the doctrine of separation of church and state and liberals would be open to hearing that argument but when opponents of same sex marriage oppose same sex marriage by using a religious definition of marriage, yes, of course liberals oppose that argument. We're OBLIGATED to oppose arguments that depend on a religious concept of marriage. The only way opponents of same sex marriage can deny tax-paying fellow citizens the right to marry the person of their choice is by using a religious definition of marriage and liberals, indeed all of us who understand separation of church and state, are obligated to oppose such religion-dependent, dare I say, "respecting an establishment of religion", arguments against fellow citizens.
Rush was probably throwing spit wads and daydreaming about football in Civics class, but even he knows that liberals don't believe separation of church and state means religious people can't run for office. What liberals think about separation of church and state is that religious people shouldn't use government to impose religion on others.
The recent flap over the proposed Islamic Cultural Center near ground zero and the flap over whether or not Barack Obama is a Muslim would not exist if our nation were serious about separation of church and state and if political candidates like Christine O'Donnell knew the 1st Amendment.