Separation of church and state

I read something today that got me really riled up. On a discussion board that I frequent, some guy was complaining that the National Parks Service (US) had no right to put books advocating Creation in its bookstores because of the principle of separation of church and state, and because the NPS is a government owned service. To me, this is stupidity.

Being Australian, I don’t claim anywhere near the level of knowledge of US history as a local would, but as I understand it separation of church and state is supposed to be a constitutional guarantee of sorts to protect individual freedoms. That is, by not allowing religion to control government (or government run services), people will not be forced into living or acting according to the edicts of any religion against their will. Conversely, government is not allowed to pass laws in regards to the establishment of any religion.

So tell me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that putting a book about Creation into a NPS bookstore is restricting anybody’s rights not to believe in Creationism (and Christianity). Rather, it seems to me that people like this guy are using separation of church and state as a tool to purge religion from things that they wish to own for themselves. Ironic, given that atheism itself is a belief (and hence could be considered a religion), not to mention a minority one.

Do you agree or disagree? Post your thoughts in the comments section below!