Jefferson wrote the declaration - and the others signed it. Nor was Jefferson the only one that wanted separation of church and state. Nor does one have to be atheist to want separation of Church and state. The founders and a whole lot of other people - were sick and tired of the merger of Church and State. The following was not an isolated perspective - it was the dominant perspective - not just in the US but in places like France at the time - you know ... statue of liberty and all that. Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any Manner contrary to their conscience.-- James Madison, explaining to Congress during the House Debate what the First Amendment means to him, 1 Annals of Congress 730 (August 15, 1789), That his conception of "establishment" was quite broad is revealed in his veto as President in 1811 of a bill which in granting land reserved a parcel for a Baptist Church in Salem, Mississippi (directly above this entry) The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. -- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-82 Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one-half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth. -- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781-82 Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind. -- John Adams, "A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America" (1787-88 ) , from Adrienne Koch, ed, The American Enlightenment: The Shaping of the American Experiment and a Free Society (1965) p. 258 As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?-- John Adams, letter to FA Van der Kamp, December 27, 1816 When philosophic reason is clear and certain by intuition or necessary induction, no subsequent revelation supported by prophecies or miracles can supersede it.-- John Adams, from Rufus K Noyes, Views of Religion, quoted from from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief The whole point of classical liberalism - (not to be confused with the modern term liberal) - developed by the enlightenment thinkers was to come up with a system where the authority of the King, President/ Gov't in General did not come from God. They wanted to do away with the concept of divine right. So they set about theorizing - and classical liberalism is what they came up with. I can go through the main tenets if you like as I have written papers on the subject but, bottom line is that the whole purpose was to get away from the authority for Gov't coming from God. The only reason to invoke the creator (and this term was deliberately chosen not to invoke the Christian God) was to put individual liberty above the legitimate authority of Gov't. The creator was not invoked to justify authority - it was invoked to limit authority. The idea that we would then go give Gov't authority to make law messing with individual liberty on the basis of religious belief on this basis is preposterous nonsense. The DOI states - in no uncertain terms - that the authority of Gov't comes from "Consent of the Governed". Do you not understand that this was a new concept with respect to Gov't at the time (not new historically but new for the time). Previous systems prior to this were all based on divine right - that authority of Gov't came from God. Your claim that law on the basis of religious belief is not theocracy is wrong. Come up with a different word of you like but the definition of secularism is law not on the basis of religious belief. If you are making law on the basis of religious belief - the first question is "what religion" - what ever the answer to that question is - that is the state religion. Regardless - we can quibble over semantics if you like but this will not change the fact that the founders did not want religious belief involved in making law messing with individual liberty. We can say things like - the founding principles are based in the Golden Rule - and the Golden Rule is the rock on which Jesus based his teachings .. OK - there is some connection there but, this rule was around - and part of legal systems long before Jesus adopted it. The thing about this rule however - do unto others as you would have done to you/ treat others as you would be treated - is that this rule forbids law being made on the basis of religious belief. If you don't want others forcing their religious beliefs on you through physical violence (Law) - then don't do the same to others. The whole point of a Republic - is that the majority are not to force their personal beliefs on the minority - BY DEFINITION. 50+1 or simple majority mandate ( some politician getting elected and claiming to have authority to mess with liberty on this basis) is called "Tyranny of the Majority" in both Classical Liberalism and Republicanism. If you can get an overwhelming majority to agree .. at least 2/3rd's ... Fine .. what ever law they agree on is legitimate .. be it slavery or women not having the vote, incest, beastiality and so on. If you can't - the law is illegitimate. The Gov't is to have no power "of its own volition" - ZERO -NONE - NADA - to make law messing with individual liberty - never mind on the basis of religious belief. This can only be done by a change to the social contract = by the authority of the people = overwhelming majority. That is how our system is supposed to work. As you might have noticed - we have fallen so far down the slippery slope we can no longer even see the mountain top - and every sitting member of SCOTUS should be dismissed for dereliction of duty - failure to interpret law and the constitution on the basis of the founding principles.