With the election hype building, there's lots of articles on Religion and Politics. Recently, one was essentially talking about Mitt Romney's Mormon faith and how that could effect voters opinions. Some interesting polls are cited towards the end of the article:
"An earlier poll by the Pew Research Center said 30 percent of respondents said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate that was Mormon. The negative sentiment rose to 46 percent for Muslim candidates and to 63 percent for a candidate who "doesn't believe in God."
There are many avenues of discussion you could take from this article. From this one poll, you could infer that Americans "dis trust" or are otherwise discouraged from voting for: Mormons, Muslims, and atheists gradiently in that order. You could get into a discussion about the role of the state and the role of religion. Eventually, all roads would lead to the constitution, and subsequently the intentions of the framers/founding fathers. But alas, I am aware that people will skip blog entries if they are too long, so I'll try to cut to the chase.
From this one poll, it appears as if Americans are not discouraged to vote for a person with faith. They're discouraged to vote for someone who's faith they do not share, especially if they don't have any! (a statement that could also be dissected)
My impression from debates and articles like the one above is that many people consider "one’s relationship with God is a private matter", one such person is Rudolph Juliani does because that quote is from him.
I guess to me the issue is not separation from church and state, but separation of religion and life.
I don't think that a religion confined to the "private" corner of life is very much of a religion at all. How couldn't your "religions" beliefs, which are really your beliefs about life be at the very center of what drives your decisions as an individual and even more so as a politician?