Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Debating the Facts: A Wall of Separation

“Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” was the question uttered by Tea Party senatorial hopeful Christine O’Donnell in her most recent televised debate with rival Chris Coons, a Democrat in the heated Delaware race. After the laughter subsided by the mostly student audience, the debate continued.

The question above was asked by O’Donnell as the two candidates debated evolution and intelligent design and the public schools need to educate students on both theories; a debate that rages between secular society and evangelicals on a regular basis. Obviously, O’Donnell favors the inclusion of intelligent design in public school curriculum while Coons disagrees. See the video here:

O’Donnell is unintelligent, misguided, under-educated, etc., right? That is what the media, left-leaning liberals, and most of our secular society would have you believe. Their debate on the first amendment protection of religion exposes O’Donnell’s obvious ignorance of constitutional law and throngs of liberals and media zealots jump the bandwagon in the days following further extolling her buffoonery. Republicans and Libertarians scramble to justify her statements, making it clear that she is making a simple didactic point. Here is how CNN covered the matter:

Suffice it to say, the phraseology “separation of church and state” does not appear anywhere in the Constitution, first amendment or otherwise. The phrase comes from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists in 1802 in which Jefferson uses the phrase “a wall of separation of church and state” when speaking on matters of religion. His words clearly define a government aside from the church, a government which will not threaten the establishment of religion or prohibit the free exercise thereof. The letter addresses the protection of the church from the government, not the other way around, which is the intent of the establishment clause. Read the letter here:

So who’s right and who’s wrong? That is a matter of debate. O’Donnell is right to point out that the phrase separation of church and state does not exist in the first amendment because it doesn’t. Coons is correct in asserting that a separation of church and state is a settled piece of constitutional law because it is. Technically, both candidates make contentions of fact, yet one candidate is portrayed as a laughing stock. I wonder why that is? Debate open to public forum. What say you? Just a thought!

No comments: