Doesn't the inclusion of religious ideas in secular education violate the separation of church and state guaranteed by the Constitution?
First of all, the phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear in the Constitution. The First Amendment reads:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."
We must remember that the First 10 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution were called "The Bill of Rights", and did not "give" men rights; they merely were written in order to "secure" men's rights which the U.S. Founding Fathers already considered to be given by Our Creator as "inalienable rights".
Take a close look at the above amendment and you will see that it forbids only one specific group of people from performing one specific act - it only forbids Congress from making laws which favor one religious denomination over another. It does not say "the" but "an establishment"; signifying that, for example, Anglicanism could not be favored or discriminated by any particular law. When we see a creche set up outside of a Public School, or Post Office, we must then ask ourselves, "Does this act involve Congress, or the making of a law?" The answer is "No", it is the free act of the employees of that institution. Since when were the employees of a Public School or Post Office members of Congress? Since when did they ever make laws?
It was, in fact, the desire of the Founding Fathers of the U.S. to promote religion in general as a benefit and necessity for the general welfare. Proof positive that "praying" is not against the Constitution is that immediately after the Constitution was ratified, Congress passed a resolution requesting the President to recommend a day of "public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging....the many signal favors of Almighty God..." And George Washington's proclamation begins,
"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor...".
Today of course, a candidate for the Presidency who would do such things would be labeled as a danger to society and a "religious fanatic" by the media.
In the same year as the Constitutional Convention, Congress adopted the Northwest Ordinance which stated in part: "Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged."
"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." - John Adams
"The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of government with the principles of Christianity. From the day of the Declaration...they were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledged as the rule of their conduct." - John Quincy Adams- 6th President
"Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." - George Washington (1796)
"Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian." - U.S. Supreme Court, 1892
James Madison, "Father of the Constitution", said: "If the sense in which the Constitution was accepted and ratified by the Nation...be not the guide in expounding it, there can be no security for a faithful exercise of its powers."