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Presidential Candidates Speak on Separation of Church and State

President Barack Obama and his challenger, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney have vastly different ideas on the meaning of the separation of church and state.

Business Insider is reporting that Governor Romney recently expounded on the subject during an interview with Cathedral Age, the magazine of the Washington National Cathedral, saying that he believes the founding fathers vision of the separation of church and state has "been taken by some well beyond its original meaning."

"They seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God," Romney said. "Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life.

"The Founders proscribed the establishment of a state religion, but they did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square."

He was referring to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which states that: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," an amendment Thomas Jefferson interpreted as meaning "a wall of separation between Church and State."

Cathedral Age posed the same question to President Obama, who has been accused of promoting policies that wage war on religion, such as the controversial birth control mandate that will force religious employers to provide insurance for health care that violates their beliefs.

"The constitutional principle of a separation between church and state has served our nation well since our founding, embraced by people of faith and those of no faith at all throughout our history, and it has been paramount in our work," Obama said.

When asked how he dealt with people who questioned his faith and believe he's more Muslim than Christian, he responded: "I have a job to do as president, and that does not involve convincing folks that my faith in Jesus is legitimate and real."

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