Nowhere in the Constitution does the phrase “the separation of church and state” exist. (Thomas Jefferson first coined the phrase in 1802 - more than a decade after the Constitution was ratified.) Yet many treat the term as though it is enshrined in the Constitution.
Those who bandy about the term “separation of church and state” argue that it means church and society remain completely separate from one another. Religion and government must not intersect, and society must not show a “preference” for one religion over another. Society must remain agnostic: ANY mention of any form of deity must be eliminated from the public eye altogether. (Never mind that by doing so, the government has already adopted a form of religion - irreligion.)
This is actually only the tip of the iceberg. In actuality, the loudest criers of the “separation of church and state” want more than the mere separation of the two powers. Those who argue for the “separation of church and state,” really want religion to be subordinate to the state – and eventually, replaced by the state altogether.
Not coincidentally, proponents of the “separation of church and state” support an ever-growing, metastasizing state. In a sense, a leviathan state becomes a new religion, touching on all aspects of life. The “public good” – as determined by government experts – develops a set of new rules that regulate human behavior just as strictly as religion's moral codes.
The recent decision by the Obama administration to force insurance companies to cover contraception for all employers – including religious employers who serve people of other faiths – is a perfect example of this trend. The defenders of this decision demand that even faiths that believe contraception is immoral be forced to violate their consciences and pay insurance companies for something they believe to be evil – for the sake of the “greater good” of society, as determined by medical "experts."
As such, statists demand that the church to have absolutely no voice in the governance of a society. They desire that religion become irrelevant, so that the state can then supplant the church as the sole arbiter of authority.
But to fully replace religion, the state must supplant religion completely – by eliminating it. In effect, religion must be forgotten entirely for the state to take the place of religion. So every hint of religion must be expunged altogether from society.
Those who seek the “separation of church and state” are in reality seeking the isolation and elimination of the church.