The separation of church and state is the theory that the government of the United States should be, in no way what-so-ever, be influenced by any religion. This theory isn't just a principle that is accepted by the country, it is written into the law put into effect by the constitution in the first amendment saying "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."" . So why should this separation be put into question? Though the constitution says that congress shall make no law respecting a religion, it doesn't exactly say "separation of church and state."" This is where the controversy arises. To begin with an unbiased approach, I will take on both sides of the conflicting ideas.
To support the separation of church and state, separationists try to prove that the first amendment was put into place to reaffirm that the government had no affiliation with any church. They would disagree with the government using tax dollars to support any religiously affiliated activity. They would also be strongly against any means of prayer in the schools. A perfect summary of this broad interpretation is the Emerson vs. Board of Education case of 1947. Here is an excerpt from this case supporting a separationist point of view: "The "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion.