Skip to comments.What Media Won't Tell You About Separation of Church and State
Posted on 10/20/2010 10:03:03 AM PDT by opentalk
The media are in a full-scale hyperventilation following Tuesday's separation of church and state comments by Delaware Republican senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell.
As an Investor's Business Daily editorial points out, O'Donnell was right when questioned about this issue during a debate with Democrat candidate Chris Coons, and all the nattering nabobs of negativism filling the airwaves are wrong:
There is, of course, no such passage. Those scoffing law scholars might want to look at the Constitution's unadorned text instead of the judicial activist law review articles that take up so much of their day.
What the Constitution does say, in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, is that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" a restriction imposed upon the state to prevent its interference in religious practice.
IBD referenced Mark Levin's "Men in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America."
The "Wall of Separation" phrase comes not from the Constitution, but from President Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists in 1802. As Levin notes, the obscure comment was virtually ignored for nearly a century and a half. It wasn't until 1947 when Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black ruled in the Everson case which actually upheld the use of taxpayer money to transport children to Catholic and other parochial schools that the Jefferson metaphor was used to establish "the anti-religious precedent that has done so much damage to religious freedom."
...Levin's argument is similar to that of the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist. In his dissent in a 1985 ruling against silent school prayer, Rehnquist pointed out: "There is simply no historical foundation for the proposition that the Framers intended to build the 'wall of separation' that was constitutionalized in Everson." He called Jefferson's "wall" "a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging."
... Is it any wonder that the newest Supreme Court justice, Elena Kagan, did not require the study of constitutional law when she was dean of Harvard Law School but did require the study of foreign law? Those future federal judges graduating Harvard might catch onto the fable liberal activists have gone to such trouble weaving.
Amid all the argument over semantics and what is and is not an appropriate short hand for the rights guaranteed under the 1st Amendment (both Madison and Jefferson seemed to think that the 1st was necessary as a “wall” (Jefferson) or as “perfect separation” (Madison) between Church and State) - is lost that VERY salient point.
O’donnell did a terrible job of trying to make her point. Her point is well taken, that judges have interpreted the constitution in a way which gives us legal precedent about this “separation”. She said it terribly but I know what she was trying to say. The liberals are making lots of fun of her because of it.
Could this mean a Sharia Law studies program? Yet Constitutional law was not a priority.
I like Phyllis Schlafly’s book The Supremacists better than Levin's ‘Men in Black’. Bought them both. Levin gets himself in a corner on the chapter about filibustering judges. It is like he thought a Democrat could never win.
well, schools can teach creationism because of the establishment clause.
Orginally, as written, schools can teach creationism or have school prayer, or whatever, because the establishment clause protects the state and the localities from Federals telling them what to do. “creationism” is “an establishment of religion.
Congress shall pass no law respecting creationism
Congress shall pass no law respecting school prayer.
States can have these things, and did without anybody caring at all until 1947, when the SCt decided to clearly negate the clear meaning of the 1A.
Christine, after the debate yesterday, decided to explain what she was doing during the debate as an attempt to get Coons to talk about the free exercise clause. Unfortunately, the free exercise clause isn’t really relevant here.
Very very few people on either side of this debate have any real clue. Honestly, I think I have as good an understanding of anybody, and I am not confident at all in my mastery of this.
I recommend everyone take a look at Elk Grove - the Thomas concurrence.
But it’s also fun to just type whatever based on what little information. It can be fun to read post after post and article after article by people who really have no idea whatsoever about what they’re talking about.
If she wins it is a slap to elitist inside GOP group. They would have to concede the Tea Party power. There are many forces working against her.
If DE is against Obamacare and new taxes, this is their only option.
It can't be too much to expect the GOP to at least try to stop them by correcting their misinterpretations.
“Protestants and Other Americans United for Separation of Church and State”
the foundation of “Americans United for Separation of Church and State”
Bigotry by any other name is still bigotry.
never once in the media reports about that woman destroying an “art print” of a painting of Jesus engaged in a sex orgy did I read about how it was a taxpayer funded work and how the government had NO business funding religious (pro OR CON) artworks.
Just wait until the Onanists declare they want to march in an Onanist Pride Parade funded by the city, and set aside quotas for Onanists who don't engage in sexual relations with anyone else.
Will employers be required to provided Onanists with separate restroom facilities?
People who define themselves by their sex acts are an odd sort.
According to your view of the Constitution, would it be acceptable for a State to pass a law abridging a citizen's freedom of speech?
Are the right guaranteed to us under the Constitution derived from the Natural Rights of man, or from Government? If they derive from the Natural Rights of man, then none but a tyrannous government could abridge those rights. Our Constitution was NOT set up so that we would live under State tyranny, but so that we would live in freedom.
Our rights mean little if they are only guarded at the Federal level.
But I agree with you that teaching Creationism in public schools would be “an establishment of religion”, giving preference and the government seal of approval to one set of religious doctrine over others.
Christine was right in the debate. She might’ve accidentally stumbled into it, but she was right. And Coons was wrong. Unfortunately Christine went on to explain herself to national review a few minutes or hours after the debate. Don’t read that article if you want to think that Christine does in fact have a clear understanding of the issues. Or maybe the national review writer had no understanding of what Christine was trying to say.
But, Christine was right, and Coons was wrong.
“that’s in the Constitution?”
You’re right Christine, it isn’t. Not even close. The written Constitution says Congress, because the 1A was designed to protect States from the Federal Government. Today, we think that the 1A does prohibit states from enacting the very same things the 1A was originally designed to protect. Everson was in error.
She was being too clever by half,
and should not have assumed that everyone in the room,
or in the media,
would understand what she was getting at.
She should have spelled it out, explicitly.
But the IBD quote is right - the law students spend all their time in [liberal] case law instead of looking at the text and the writings of the time of ratification.
How about the secular humanist view that the world was created by a random event termed the Big Bang and that even if some sort of god did exist, he had absolutely no role in the event or subsequence turn of random events.
Everyone has a “creation” story. They differ in the details.
Scientologists believe that aliens populated the planet and bestowed on humans “imperfect” traits. There are some scientists who dress it up and say that life here came from Mars.
I heard someone put it well:
“Homosexuality does not define a group, it defines an ACT.”
All you have to do is go back to the time of the founding.
There were official religions of various states,
and no one even mentioned these as violating the first amendment.
The states wouldn’t have ratified it if that is what it meant.
See Elk Grove.
Freedom of Speech is an individual right.
The establishment clause isn’t. It’s a right that was given to the states. Not to the people.
The Free Exercise clause is the individual right part.
Please, people, stop with the Natural Rights, Natural Law stuff. You get it, but the lawyers, myself included, have no real idea what you’re talking about.
It’s as if you want to understand the law, but find all the little complications too much, and decide to pretend that this Natural Law and Rights stuff is somehow relevant to the law today.
No one seems to touch at all on the the actual law. As it exists now, as it existed in 1947. None of that.
I’m saying that the 1st Amendment allows the teaching of Creationism. I’m not putting some Lemon test out there for that. I’m not concluding that creationism is impermissible.
I’m saying that Everson was wrong.
See Thomas in Elk Grove. Here’s the handy link to the Elk Grove thread I set up yesterday.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2610810/posts - elk grove
Serious conservatives should study Clarence Thomas here. Establishment clause jurisprudence is a mess.
Quite simply, the Establishment Clause is best understood as a federalism provisionit protects state establishments from federal interference but does not protect any individual right.
That’s what Clarence Thomas said. He actually gets to vote on what the Constitution says. What he said is not, technically “law”, because it’s a concurrence, but we want Justices who agree with him, so that he can write a majority opinion on the establishment clause, and overturn Everson.
Teaching that the evidence suggest the universe is expanding from an initial point of creation is compatible with the evidence and is science.
Teaching that the Earth is only a few thousand years old and that all species were created nearly simultaneously is a religious belief without evidence and is not science.
Do you think that Mormons teaching the “history” of Semitic people in the Americas in Utah public schools would be acceptable under the 1st Amendment?
“See there you go again...” < /reagan >
YOU are the one setting the argument as “creationism” being only a few thousand years old for all religious believers.
EVERYONE Christian, Jewish, Agnostic, Atheist, Scientologist, Buddhist has a creation belief. THAT is “creationism”.
if you want to use it as a pejorative and say that “creationism is a belief that a god or many gods created everything” that still does NOT give you the right to insist that everyone start that clock at 6,000 years.
That is the fallacy of this debate. Because “some religious believers” say “6,000 years” EVERYONE who believes in a God and believe that their God created the universe and life MUST believe THAT view of “creationist story” is a false argument.
There are some who see a “clockmaker view” of the universe, that the observed scientific principles had been put into motion by the creator.
To say ABSOLUTELY that there was no creator is a religious litimus test that makes ATHEISM the state religion. And that is outright academic bias.
We may “agree to disagree” as a nation but we cannot demand that everyone “forgo their religious beliefs to submit to the secular humanist atheists’ view”. That is what the muslim theocracy also demands. You may hold a different opinion as long as you never tell anyone that opinion.
Thus “freedom of speech” and “freedom of religion” become meaningless.
MSNBC has been playing the clip which I documented here :'CO'D gets in trouble talking First Amendment' link ref #23 over and over.
The problem is she responding to the statement ..the government shall make no establishment of religion with the question ..that is in the first amendment? . She may not have meant that sequence of wording but it made her look like she got in over her head.
I notice that both MSNBC and FNC tend to play clips that make the other party (sides) look bad. I watch them side by side sometimes and it looks like two different debates.
Just because a Republican takes a position we agree with doesnt mean that they are not doing damage to the argument by trying to explain stuff that they are not prepared to. A great example is Elizabeth on The View. It is torture to watch her.
That is NOT. I repeat NOT. in the 1A.
NOT IN THE FIRST AMENDMENT.
Christine was RIGHT.
It says Congress, not Government.