The separation of church and state is an awesome idea...In connection to this, I'll add a link to my 2008 überpost The Church of MSM and the New Reformation, this quote from Jonah Goldberg:
until you meet folks whose church IS the state.
With high minds, noble virtues and the very best of intentions, they dance around their altars like neolithic savages, gathering followers to help them implore their $DEITY to accept their sacrifice and to provide for them; to organize their economies, to calm their storms, to heal their sick, to teach their children, to pave their streets, to collect their trash, and above all, to punish their enemies.
The saddest thing is that most of these folks deem themselves to be evolved, and recognize no part of their atavism.
Yep, separation of church and state is an awesome idea until you meet the folks whose church is the state.
Then it's irrelevant.
Rousseau says the government is there, that our rights come from the government, that (they) come from the collective. Locke says our rights come from God, and that we only create a government to protect our interests. The Rousseauian says you can make a religion out of society and politics, and the Lockean says no, religion is a separate sphere from politics. And that is the defining distinction between the two, and I think that distinction also runs through the human heart, that we all have a Rousseauian temptation in us. And it's the job of conservatives to remind people that the Lockean in us needs to win.