Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney believes that "some" Americans have taken the separation of church and state too far, "well beyond its original meaning."
In an interview released Tuesday with the Washington National Cathedral's magazine, Cathedral Age, Romney said those who "seek to remove from the public domain any acknowledgment of God" aren't acting in line with the Founders' intent.
The separation of church and state is enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution, but Congress and the courts have debated the practical extent of that separation since its founding.
Romney said the Founders didn't intend for "the elimination of religion from the public square. We are a nation 'Under God, 'and in God, we do indeed trust."
President Barack Obama also was given a chance to answer questions about his Christian faith and about faith in public life. He called faith a "powerful force for good," but stopped short of suggesting that its influence in America had been forcibly diminished in recent years.
Romney, who is Mormon, didn't mention his faith by name during the nine-page interview, but acknowledged that, "I am often asked about my faith and my beliefs about Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind."
"Every religion has its own unique doctrines and history," he said, and "these should not be bases for criticism but rather a test of our tolerance."
Despite early speculation that Romney's Mormon faith would present a problem for Republican voters, a recent poll showed that Republican and Democratic voters are generally unconcerned about his faith.