Without looking it up, where did the phrase "separation of church and state" come from?
Off the top of your head - without reading any of these answers or googling it - where do you think the term "wall of separation between church and state" can be found?
Thomas Jefferson's letter to Danbury Bishops-- A must read.
If you're mean solely the phrase...the Jefferson's letter would be accurate to the best of my knowledge. However, many of the founders endorsed the principal of religious freedoms long before the Danbury letter. The founders were religious men who framed our governing documents around many of the Christian principals referenced in our founding documents. And many aspects of our gov't such as the three branches of gov't were inspired by the Christian bible. But they were very concerned recreating the environment they had fled in England, where they lived under the rule of the Church of England. So while men like Madison who was a key author of the constitution may not have used that exact phrase, he echoed many of the same sentiments in his writing of creating not a secular society, but a secular gov't.
Actually, much of the government was inspired by Native American tribes, who had similar rules about elected officials (usually chiefs).
There is more Christian influence in the bible than anything. The three branches of gov't was conceived by Madison from Isaiah 33:22.
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