Over the last 60 years or so, there has been more or less a constant majority on the Supreme Court that has remained committed to removing religion from the public culture. The equal protection clause of the 14th amendment may be used in a principled way to regulate government distinctions on the basis of religion, just as it is used to regulate government distinctions based on race or ethnicity. For example no one would take seriously a charge that St. Patricks day is a white supremacist holiday or that the Black History Month designation is unconstitutional. Why then is any religious references by government entities seemingly always challenged as unconstitutional? Madison did not think legal or even constitutional rights could limit natural rights. Madison evoked a broader 'natural right' to religious freedom. He did not think we should rely solely on what was in the constitution. The decisions of the supreme court to try to stop so-called state sponsorship of religion have infringed on our constitutional right to the free exercise of religion. We for example can no longer publicly pray freely in a public school. I would argue that this infringes on my right to freely exercise my religion. The lefts view of this sometimes sites Madison's "Detached Memorandum" so as to assert a strict view of this part of the first amendment, but the same left wants a broad and loose interpretation of the constitution to allow for a right to abort a child. You cant have it both ways guys. Religion and religious expressions of any faiths is not some destructive virus seeking to destroy America. On the contrary seeking to squelch such public and governmental references to religion is the virus that is undermining our core values as a culture. So does the Constitution call for separation of church and state? No it does not. Does it create a wall of separation as written by Jefferson? No it does not. Is the term 'seperatin of church and state' merely a metaphor for the practical application of the first amendment? Again no it is not. The first amendment guarantees our right to exercise our religion as we choose. It also says congress can not establish a state church, that is all. No separation of the two included there.