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Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell agree: No separation of church and state

Democratic campaign operatives around the country will tell you privately that it frustrates them that Christine O'Donnell's various eccentricities get so much more media attention than GOP gaffes do in races that Dems view as winnable.

Case in point: O'Donnell is getting a massive amount of attention today because during a debate with Chris Coons, she asked: "Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?"

But Sharron Angle said something very similar a couple months back and it got almost no national attention. During an interview with Jon Ralston, he confronted her over her 1995 statement that excluding religious schools from Federal funding is un-American and that the separation of church and state is an unconstitutional doctrine. Then this exchange ensued:

RALSTON: The separation of church and state arises out of the Constitution.

ANGLE: No it doesn't, John.

RALSTON: Oh, it doesn't? The Founding Fathers didn't believe in the separation of church and state?

ANGLE: Thomas Jefferson has been misquoted, like I've been misquoted, out of context. Thomas Jefferson was actually addressing a church and telling them through his address that there had been a wall of separation put up between the church and the state precisely to protect the church from being taken over by a state religion. That's what they meant by that. They didn't mean we couldn't bring our values to the political forum.

Whatever the debate over Jefferson's subsequent interpretation, the widely accepted interpretation has been that the intent of the Constitution was to keep church and state separate, and her suggestion that this didn't arise out of the Constitution puts her in O'Donnell territory.

Interestingly, in a general sense, Angle's more eccentric claims have tended to garner less national coverage than those of O'Donnell, who seems to be viewed by the national media as more of a curiosity. What makes this odder is that Angle's race is extremely close and O'Donnell's is widely deemed to be unwinnable. Meanwhile, O'Donnell has issued a statement clarifying her comments:

"In this morning's WDEL debate, Christine O'Donnell was not questioning the concept of separation of church and state as subsequently established by the courts. She simply made the point that the phrase appears nowhere in the Constitution. It was in fact Chris Coons who demonstrated his ignorance of our country's founding documents when he could not name the five freedoms contained in the First Amendment."

Only two more weeks to go. It has been quite an election season.

By Greg Sargent  | October 19, 2010; 2:45 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, Senate Republicans, Tea Party  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Why Karl Rove and U.S. Chamber are laughing at their critics
Next: Big Dog nostalgia

Comments

God, she's such a moron. Does she not realize that an amendment to the constitution means that the constitution has been changed? and that the amended language becomes part of the constitution?

Excuse me while I go bang my head on a wall.

Posted by: lcrider1 | October 19, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Palin's Headless Chickens coming home to roost!

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Don't mock republican Jesus, Greg.

He's got an assault rifle.

Amen.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | October 19, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Don't mock republican Jesus, Greg.

He's got an assault rifle.

Amen.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya
++++++++++++++++

And he will use the assault rifle, if necessary to keep swarthy semitic Jesus (who notoriously lacks a "long form" birth certificate) from entering our nation, thank God!

Posted by: bearclaw1 | October 19, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Not only does he come armed with an assault rifle, but he also brings chastity belts for all, except Granny Grizzly's Cub.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Christine O'Donnell's point was this:

"They didn't mean we couldn't bring our values to the political forum."

__________________________


That actually is 100% correct. There is Surpreme Court caselaw which states clearly that "Religion has its place in the public square."


The liberals would love to twist this around, but IF THEY ARE HONEST, they will find that Christine O'Donnell was correct.


.

Posted by: LeafofLife | October 19, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Christine O'Donnell is correct. It is the Establishment clause which is in the Constitution.

There has been caselaw which has given reasoning that "separation of church and state" comes from that clause, HOWEVER it is important to understand that "separation of church and state" has been WIDELY MISINTERPRETED.

"Separation of Church and State" means what that ONE PARTICULAR COURT CASE SAID - it is caselaw. It means that the State should not been running the Church - and the Church should NOT have a role in running the State.

It is about GOVERNANCE - the Church should not have a role in running the State, and the State should not have role in running the State.


To attempt to add this to a list of "nutty" things of Christine O'Donnell, again, does not work.

Posted by: LeafofLife | October 19, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

LeafofLife admonishes about honesty.

And I thought irony died when Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | October 19, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

STRF admonishes on honesty, and he has a whole bunch of other puppet names to back him up.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

It is about GOVERNANCE - the Church should not have a role in running the State, and the State should not have role in running the State.

Posted by: LeafofLife
++++++++++++++

"The State should not have a role in running the State."

The sine qua non of teabaggerism?

Posted by: bearclaw1 | October 19, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Greg's first point is actually the most important: the strategy of the democrats to try to focus on little things about the Tea Party IS BACKFIRING.


It is taking up all the "media oxygen" and leaving little for the other democratic candidates who need to focus on voters and get their message out.

It is also "nationalizing" the race, which the democrats simply do not want.

Many of these Tea Party "issues" are not really working either. Most are personal - few people will fault the MILLIONS of people in the Tea Party for something one person did a decade or more ago.


The BACKFIRING continues, because the Republicans are running the clock down. It's not halftime anymore, its the 4th quarter with 5 minutes to go. AND Obama just used up all the times outs.


.

Posted by: LeafofLife | October 19, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

@LeafofLife:

"and the State should not have a role in running the State."

Discuss.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | October 19, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

When will STRF use up all his other names, and just stick to calling himself Sybil?

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Liam,

It is clear that LeafofLife is just "code." It is an obvious anagram for "I flee offal."

Posted by: bearclaw1 | October 19, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Bearclaw

It would be wise for you to apologize for the foolish things you said the other day.

You don't post a link which does not support your position, and then call someone else a liar.

You are not a serious person. You are simply here to harass.

.

Posted by: LeafofLife | October 19, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"Separation of Church and State" means what the caselaw says.

It is true that this phrase is not in the Constitution - it is from caselaw which interpretes the Establishment clause.

"Separation of Church and State" means what the caselaw says - not what you might believe - there is CONTEXT and that CONTEXT IS ESTABLISHMENT.

Anyway.

There is no sense discussing any of this with people who are intent on being nasty and determined to have uncivil discussion. YES THAT MEANS YOU.

Posted by: LeafofLife | October 19, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

OT:

-Univision says it won’t air ad discouraging Latinos from voting-

"To ask a community, any community to silence their voice as a way to resolve or react during a time when their voice is most needed, is what makes all this reprehensible," Luis Valera, the director of the University of Nevada's Government Relations department, told the station.

Univision has confirmed to The Upshot that it does not intend to air the ads:

"Univision will not be running any spots from Latinos for Reform related to voting. It is also important to clarify that while Mr. Robert de Posada has on occasion provided political commentary on Univision, representing one of various points of views, he is not in any way affiliated with Univision. Univision prides itself on promoting civic engagement and our extensive national campaigns encourage Hispanics to vote," the statement says.

[...]

Deposada says he wishes he could advise Latinos to vote Republican, but that the GOP's opposition to reform and anti-illegal immigration rhetoric makes that impossible. He says Latino voters should still participate in local election balloting.

"We're angry at the rhetoric from some of the more conservative members of the party. We're simply very disappointed with what they're doing. We could not reward that kind of rhetoric [by asking people to vote for Republicans]," he said.

Vargas says he thinks the plea will fall on deaf ears. "We're going to do anything we can to surpass projections that 6.5 million Latinos will vote on November 2," he says. "That's a million more than voted in 2006."

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20101019/pl_yblog_upshot/latino-leaders-slam-ad-telling-latinos-not-to-vote

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 19, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

"Military recruiters told to accept gay applicants"

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101019/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_gays_in_military_recruiting

"WASHINGTON – The Defense Department said Tuesday that it is accepting openly gay recruits, but is warning applicants they might not be allowed to stick around for long.

Following last week's court ruling that struck down a 1993 law banning gays from serving openly, the military has suspended enforcement of the rule known as "don't ask, don't tell." The Justice Department is appealing the decision and has asked the courts for a temporary stay on the ruling.

The Defense Department said it would comply with the law and had frozen any discharge cases. But at least one case was reported of a man being turned away from an Army recruiting office in Austin, Texas.

Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith on Tuesday confirmed that recruiters had been given top-level guidance to accept applicants who say they are gay.

Recruiters also have been told to inform potential recruits that the moratorium on enforcement of "don't ask, don't tell" could be reversed at any point, if the ruling is appealed or the court grants a stay, she said.

The uncertain status of the law has caused much confusion within an institution that has historically discriminated against gays. Before the 1993 law, the Defense Department banned gays entirely and declared them incompatible with military service."

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

LeafofLife - A couple of things:

1) Case law is two words, not one.

2) "and the State should not have a role in running the State." Ummmmm

LeafofLife / Classic777 / SaveTheRainForest / CapitolorCapital or whatever you call yourself, I'm going to give you some sound advice:

Adjust your tin foil hat, your circumcision scars are showing.

And get off this blog while you are at it. Whatever points you are attempting to make are muddled by your conspicuous lack of intelligence. The end result of all your posts is that people think you, and by extension the causes you push, are retarded. That you are making your inane posts on a liberal blog, in what I can only assume is an attempt at “hippy punching” makes you a retarded assh*le. Don’t go away sad, just go away.


Posted by: PaciolisRevenge | October 19, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

"Separation of Church and State" means what the caselaw says - not what you might believe - there is CONTEXT and that CONTEXT IS ESTABLISHMENT.

__________________________


If someone is really interested in learning about this subject, rather than starting a partisan squabble, this would be a good place to start.

"Separation of Church and State" has been widely MISINTERPRETED - to apply to other aspects of civil life, and even PRIVATE conduct and that is just INCORRECT.

"Separation of Church and State" is caselaw - and it is caselaw in the context of the ESTABLISHMENT clause - so it is specific to evaluating government actions. Private conduct is not included.

Anyway, few of you are interested in having a serious conversation beyond a PATHETIC attempt to make someone look bad.

Posted by: LeafofLife | October 19, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

...and LeafofLife, Bill Clinton was his last 'phone a friend who cares', that just narrows it down to, Joe Robin(a v)ette Biden and Osamba been Ladden...

Posted by: SpendNomore | October 19, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

OT, another on this fascinating topic:

-Will ad campaign urging Hispanic voters to stay home work?-

In wake of Angle’s anti-illegal-immigration ad, a new conservative campaign urges Hispanics not to vote

[...]

The leader of that group, Robert Deposada, a conservative pundit on Spanish-language Univision who once ran President George W. Bush’s commission to advance privatization of Social Security, said Hispanics should boycott the polls because Obama has not yet delivered on his campaign promise to tackle immigration reform.

Other Hispanic activists immediately decried the advertisements.

“No Nevadan should be silenced or have their vote suppressed, especially those in the Hispanic community, who have been disproportionately impacted during these tough economic times,” said Luis Valera, vice president of Las Vegas’ Latin Chamber of Commerce.

Valera was joined by other Hispanic leaders in calling for Republican candidates Angle and Brian Sandoval — himself a Hispanic — to denounce the ads, and for radio, television, and Internet providers to pull the plug on the commercials.

[...]

Hispanic advocates have said that Hispanics are a unique force to be reckoned with — and warned that the community in Nevada will respond to efforts to sideline, stereotype, and marginalize them by turning out in droves to the polls.

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2010/oct/18/race-baiting-ads-have-worked-past/

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 19, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Paco

You can take your disinformation and put it on a sign and walk around whatever town you are in.

NONE OF YOUR NASTINESS makes you correct.


What is does is make you a nasty person. Clean up your act.


And get lost.


Your side is going to lose the election. Get used to it, PACOboy.


.

Posted by: LeafofLife | October 19, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

In this morning's WDEL debate, Christine O'Donnell was not questioning the concept of separation of church and state as subsequently established by the courts. She simply made the point that the phrase appears nowhere in the Constitution.
----------------------------------------
Another O'Donnell-ism--"oh, I didn't mean the concept isn't there, I just meant the phrase isn't in there". Wow, that was an important sophist point to make.

It's like her Oxford education. She didn't mean she went there, she means she went BY there.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | October 19, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

We can now conclude that LoL doesn't understand that both the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause are part of the "wall of separation between church and state" mentioned by Jefferson in his letter to the Danbury Baptists.

Still trying to discover where LoL/STRF/CoC/Classic777 found a wall of separation between State and State!

Posted by: bearclaw1 | October 19, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

OK, OK, O Kee, Dough Kee...WE get it, anybody should be able to Pledge 'Life, property, and sacred honor' and serve this country, but, BUT, the military services in America were, aren't, and never, never should be used as a social equalization arm of the Progressively Active Collectivization of this Great Free Nation...get IT? Lame?

Posted by: SpendNomore | October 19, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

This is CLEARLY one reason why the nation has REJECTED THE LIBERALS.


Instead of having a serious conversation on the topic, liberals prefer to mock people.

It matters little to the liberals whether their facts are straight, whether they are right or wrong. THE LIBERALS ARE LOOKING FOR A REASON TO HATE SOMEONE.

That is what the democratic party has ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT.

The democrats have only changed WHO THEY HATE - it is still the SAME HATE, THE SAME TACTICS.

FACT CHECK THAT.......


.

Posted by: LeafofLife | October 19, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

FYI - Only one person ever called me "Paco". Guess who that was?

It was none other than the retarded assh*le himself, SaveTheRainForest.

Posted by: PaciolisRevenge | October 19, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

hey Pacioli, I think you are getting to the Leaf et al.

However, you may have detected he is somewhat hostile to the idea of taking himself off this blog. In fact, I would bet a whole lot that the day after the end of the world, Leaf et al will still be here posting and posting. He will not go willingly.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | October 19, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"
Christine O'donnell is correct... Separation of church and state is not in the Constitution.

Posted by: ktdsn | October 19, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

In this morning's WDEL debate, Christine O'Donnell was not questioning the concept of separation of church and state as subsequently established by the courts. She simply made the point that the phrase appears nowhere in the Constitution.
----------------------------------------
Another O'Donnell-ism--"oh, I didn't mean the concept isn't there, I just meant the phrase isn't in there". Wow, that was an important sophist point to make.

It's like her Oxford education. She didn't mean she went there, she means she went BY there.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | October 19, 2010 3:56 PM
.................

If she is one of those right wingers who wants to rely solely on original intent, and ignore the subsequent amendments, then she is correct. Of course that would also mean they would have no original constitutional right to own guns, and of course as a woman, Christine would not have any right to vote.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse


Get out the Ritalan Greg, the class is getting restless...

Greg, WE bad (sort of), forgot to thank the host for inspiring this spirited exchange at the forum today, respect where respect is due), again thank you...

Seriously though, isn't the contrast startling, a gang of Carpet Baggers holed up in Tent City @ 1600 Progressive Pirate Ship Ave., and a fresh, energized and determined pantheon of not-so Clueless young Amateur Patriots ready to step into the whistling wind at the brink, board the USS Golden Goose sailing US back to the shore of the good land of 'Prosperity', and Plenty of IT?...and all y'all got is: "the funny money boss", look it's raining down in buckets from the Mother-Ship of 'special foreign interests', oooh, beam US up there Scotty, maybe there's more of that Soros funny plastic banana good time rock and a hard place foreign exchange rate money up there that didn't find it's way to BarackObama.Com.

Handbook for the Civil and Rationalization of Liberally administered Web Blog-Sites:

Rule #1 Don't stir up a pile of poo poo, left by the only crew in this world that does not get 'it', unless you can stand the heat that results from that friction introduced into a perfectly good and fair forum.

Posted by: SpendNomore | October 19, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

This is CLEARLY one reason why the nation has REJECTED THE LIBERALS.


Instead of having a serious conversation on the topic, liberals prefer to mock people.

It matters little to the liberals whether their facts are straight, whether they are right or wrong. THE LIBERALS ARE LOOKING FOR A REASON TO HATE SOMEONE.

That is what the democratic party has ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT.

The democrats have only changed WHO THEY HATE - it is still the SAME HATE, THE SAME TACTICS.

FACT CHECK THAT.......


.

Posted by: LeafofLife | October 19, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

12BarBlues | October 19, 2010 4:03 PM

You may well be right about that.

I feel bad for the guy; being a retarded assh*le can't be easy. I doubt he has any friends whatsoever. The insults we lob at him (rightly) are probably as close as he has ever gotten to anyone caring about him one way or the other.

Posted by: PaciolisRevenge | October 19, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I disagree. It comes easy for him. He is a natural.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I doubt he has any friends whatsoever.
----------------------------
Sadly, WE are his friends.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | October 19, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

@LeafofLife: "liberals prefer to mock people."

No, I am mocking a jellyfish: no brain, no heart, no spine, and poops (in capitals letters!) out of the same orifice it uses to eat.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | October 19, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

"Sadly, WE are his friends."

True. He is like a dog that has been beaten for years and thinks the only way people can express love is through beatings.

So he belly crawls back here, barks out some wingnut "non-sense" (his spelling not mine) and hopes one of us will show him some love by calling him a retarded assh0le.

Posted by: PaciolisRevenge | October 19, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

The insults we lob at him (rightly) are probably as close as he has ever gotten to anyone caring about him one way or the other.

Posted by: PaciolisRevenge
+++++++++++++++++

Nice insight. Notice that what troubles him most is not insults, it is being ignored. The pitiable thing wants attention, and any kind of attention is better for him than no attention.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | October 19, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Pacio, fear not, those who only react, usually don't read, spell, or write with clarity...in that forest when a fire is started, the only way to put it out is to dig a hole and push the ashes into the hole and let the Rain from Above turn it into a cool dense Ash Hole...

Greetin's 12BB!

Posted by: SpendNomore | October 19, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Go retarded assh0les!

Posted by: sbj3 | October 19, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

So let us all just ignore him, starting now.

A sadist met a masochist at a local bar. He invited the masochist over to his place to see his collection of whips. He started cracking one of his whips, and the masochist started quivering with anticipation, but the sadist just ignored him.

Finally the masochist said: you are going to whip me, aren't you?

The sadist stared at him for a long while; then replied; No.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

...Three doses of the Peace Pills over there by sbj...

Posted by: SpendNomore | October 19, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

...Four doses for Lame Brains...

Posted by: SpendNomore | October 19, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Angle is even more wrong that O'Donnell because Jefferson was not only NOT misquoted, he was perhaps the biggest champion of separation of church and state! He fought for it for years at the state level, finally getting it enacted in Virginia, and then he's one of the main reasons it was put into the constitution in the first place. He was NOT misquoted!

Posted by: mikediaz1 | October 19, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

PaciolisRevenge, did you find the words "our Lord" in the Constitution yet? Who do you think the reference is to, if not Jesus Christ?

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

All, check this out: Bill Clinton endorsement commands more weight than Obama's among Dems:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/10/big_dog_nostalgia.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | October 19, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Aren't all the amendments considered to be a part of the Constitution, and if something is in an amendment, isn't it automatically in our current constitution?

How the hell can you have constitutional amendments which are not part of the constitution. Are Angle and O'DoDo coming out against the Bill Of Rights, which includes the right to bear Arms, and against the 19th Amendment, which allows them to vote and run for the US Senate.

They can not have it both ways. If they are claiming that the amendments should not count, then they are not allowed to vote or run for US Senate seats.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Here's another of your retarded assh0les, sbj:

This morning, the former half-term Alaska Governor turned kingmaker and kingbreaker in GOP politics told her hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers: "Pennsylvania:makes sense 2 send GOP 2 DC 2 avoid PA economic disaster that will occur under Obama/Pelosi Cap & Tax scheme; workers need Raese."

Posted by: pragmaticstill | October 19, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it the worst liberal nightsweat, that the whole middle of the country would wake up one fine morning and realize that the 'First Ever'-in-Chief is just another gas bag, blowing up a Bush-Doll and draggin' it around the stage at Dem Town Haul Meetin's, alternately promising even more mayhem without end, and beating the Doll about the head and stomach, blaming it for all his no-relief in sight problem solving drought.

Who, then, should be ashamed on the Pirate Ship USS Bushdoll-Obama of the failure to direct Odd-Job Czar Joseph Robin(a v)ette Biden to save and/or create those 8 Million Jobs, never to be seen again (according to Mr. 'Fast Eddie' Biden)?

Still time to join US of America on that good, big Prosperity Bound Ship of State going where there is more than enough Mansions for All of Good Will...

Posted by: SpendNomore | October 19, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

...Four doses for Lame Brains...

Posted by: SpendNomore | October 19, 2010 4:27 PM

.................


Be careful with your self medicating.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Greetin's 12BB!
----------------------------
Hey, Spend...didn't you used to be rich? Or do I have that wrong?

Posted by: 12BarBlues | October 19, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Sorry sbj, maybe she's not a retarded assh0le:

The steady roll of excuse-making followup tweets continues. Now Palin says that all energy producing states need Raese to win in West Virginia.

"All energy producing states need WV's Raese in DC 2 stop Obama/Pelosi Cap&Tax;that's PA,AK,NV,CA,etc;WV sending a"D"perpetuates the problem"

Posted by: pragmaticstill | October 19, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

The early presidents and patriots were generally Deists or Unitarians, believing in some form of impersonal Providence but rejecting the divinity of Jesus and the absurdities of the Old and New testaments.

Thomas Paine was a pamphleteer whose manifestos encouraged the faltering spirits of the country and aided materially in winning the war of Independence:
I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of...Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all."
From:
The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine, pp. 8,9 (Republished 1984, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY)

George Washington, the first president of the United States, never declared himself a Christian according to contemporary reports or in any of his voluminous correspondence. Washington Championed the cause of freedom from religious intolerance and compulsion. When John Murray (a universalist who denied the existence of hell) was invited to become an army chaplain, the other chaplains petitioned Washington for his dismissal. Instead, Washington gave him the appointment. On his deathbed, Washinton uttered no words of a religious nature and did not call for a clergyman to be in attendance.
From:
George Washington and Religion by Paul F. Boller Jr., pp. 16, 87, 88, 108, 113, 121, 127 (1963, Southern Methodist University Press, Dallas, TX)

Posted by: PaciolisRevenge | October 19, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

"They didn't mean we couldn't bring our values to the political forum."

That's merely Angle's straw man. No reasonable person seeks to ban those values that come from the various religions. The principle here is that the values must be translated into secular terms, out of respect for not just secular government but also for citizens of other religions. Too often, people like Angle and O'Donnell and Mike Huckabee state their values in explicitly sectarian terms, and when called on it, complain that their religion is being discriminated against. They would do well to study the speeches of MLK, who spoke about the values from his religion but did an excellent job of translating them into secular terms.

Posted by: Carstonio | October 19, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse


John Adams, the country's second president, was drawn to the study of law but faced pressure from his father to become a clergyman. He wrote that he found among the lawyers 'noble and gallant achievments" but among the clergy, the "pretended sanctity of some absolute dunces". Late in life he wrote: "Twenty times in the course of my late reading, have I been upon the point of breaking out, "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!"

It was during Adam's administration that the Senate ratified the Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which states in Article XI that "the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion."
From:
The Character of John Adams by Peter Shaw, pp. 17 (1976, North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC) Quoting a letter by JA to Charles Cushing Oct 19, 1756, and John Adams, A Biography in his Own Words, edited by James Peabody, p. 403 (1973, Newsweek, New York NY) Quoting letter by JA to Jefferson April 19, 1817, and in reference to the treaty, Thomas Jefferson, Passionate Pilgrim by Alf Mapp Jr., pp. 311 (1991, Madison Books, Lanham, MD) quoting letter by TJ to Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse, June, 1814.

Posted by: PaciolisRevenge | October 19, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

pragmaticstill, to whom do you think the words "our Lord" in the Constitution refer?

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

I think SpendNoMore is LeafofLife's classic, retarded uncle from the capital of the rainforest in he11.

Posted by: pragmaticstill | October 19, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Thomas Jefferson, third president and author of the Declaration of Independence, said:"I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die a Unitarian." He referred to the Revelation of St. John as "the ravings of a maniac" and wrote:
The Christian priesthood, finding the doctrines of Christ levelled to every understanding and too plain to need explanation, saw, in the mysticisms of Plato, materials with which they might build up an artificial system which might, from its indistinctness, admit everlasting controversy, give employment for their order, and introduce it to profit, power, and pre-eminence. The doctrines which flowed from the lips of Jesus himself are within the comprehension of a child; but thousands of volumes have not yet explained the Platonisms engrafted on them: and for this obvious reason that nonsense can never be explained."
From:
Thomas Jefferson, an Intimate History by Fawn M. Brodie, p. 453 (1974, W.W) Norton and Co. Inc. New York, NY) Quoting a letter by TJ to Alexander Smyth Jan 17, 1825, and Thomas Jefferson, Passionate Pilgrim by Alf Mapp Jr., pp. 246 (1991, Madison Books, Lanham, MD) quoting letter by TJ to John Adams, July 5, 1814.

"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." -- Thomas Jefferson (letter to J. Adams April 11,1823)

James Madison, fourth president and father of the Constitution, was not religious in any conventional sense. "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."
"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity

Posted by: PaciolisRevenge | October 19, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

...Five Doses for StillPrag...looks like this is going to be a rough sail, after all...never give up, never give up, the shiiip...

Posted by: SpendNomore | October 19, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Another of sbj's retarded assh0les:

Hmmm. Last we checked, Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller was saying he was required by the local middle school to bring a security detail to the school for his event. But now it turns out they say that's not true, they didn't require him to bring a security detail. And at least two of the 'security' guards Miller brought with him (and who detained one journalist and threatened to detain two others) were active duty members of the military -- apparently moonlighting without permission from their superiors.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/10/miller_coming_into_focus.php?ref=fpblg

Posted by: pragmaticstill | October 19, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

What the hell are their values? O'DoDo once stated that she would have become a Hari Krisha, except she would have to become a vegetarian, and she could not do that, because being Italian, she loved Meat Balls.

She also said that she would never deceive the Nazis, in order to conceal the hiding place of some Jewish people.

So again; just what are their values?

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

James Madison, fourth president and father of the Constitution, was not religious in any conventional sense. "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."
"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."
From:
The Madisons by Virginia Moore, P. 43 (1979, McGraw-Hill Co. New York, NY) quoting a letter by JM to William Bradford April 1, 1774, and James Madison, A Biography in his Own Words, edited by Joseph Gardner, p. 93, (1974, Newsweek, New York, NY) Quoting Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments by JM, June 1785.

Ethan Allen, whose capture of Fort Ticonderoga while commanding the Green Mountain Boys helped inspire Congress and the country to pursue the War of Independence, said, "That Jesus Christ was not God is evidence from his own words." In the same book, Allen noted that he was generally "denominated a Deist, the reality of which I never disputed, being conscious that I am no Christian." When Allen married Fanny Buchanan, he stopped his own wedding ceremony when the judge asked him if he promised "to live with Fanny Buchanan agreeable to the laws of God." Allen refused to answer until the judge agreed that the God referred to was the God of Nature, and the laws those "written in the great book of nature."
From:
Religion of the American Enlightenment by G. Adolph Koch, p. 40 (1968, Thomas Crowell Co., New York, NY.) quoting preface and p. 352 of Reason, the Only Oracle of Man and A Sense of History compiled by American Heritage Press Inc., p. 103 (1985, American Heritage Press, Inc., New York, NY.)

Benjamin Franklin, delegate to the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, said:
As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion...has received various corrupting Changes, and I have, with most of the present dissenters in England, some doubts as to his Divinity; tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the Truth with less trouble." He died a month later, and historians consider him, like so many great Americans of his time, to be a Deist, not a Christian.
From:
Benjamin Franklin, A Biography in his Own Words, edited by Thomas Fleming, p. 404, (1972, Newsweek, New York, NY) quoting letter by BF to Exra Stiles March 9, 1790.

Posted by: PaciolisRevenge | October 19, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I dunno claw-daddy:

Lord is a title with various meanings. It can denote a prince or a feudal superior (especially a feudal tenant who holds directly from the king, i.e., a baron). The title today is mostly used in connection with the peerage of the United Kingdom or its predecessor countries, although some users of the title do not themselves hold peerages, and use it 'by courtesy'. The title may also be used in conjunction with others to denote a superior holder of an otherwise generic title, in such combinations as "Lord Mayor" or "Lord Chief Justice". The title is primarily taken by men, while women will usually take the title 'lady'. However, this is not universal, as the Lord of Mann and female Lord Mayors are examples of women who are styled 'lord'.

In religious contexts Lord can also refer to various different gods or deities. The earliest uses of Lord in the English language in a religious context were by English Bible translators such as Bede. This reflected the Jewish practice of substituting the spoken Hebrew word 'Adonai' (which means 'My Lord') for YHWH when read aloud.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of English, the etymology of the word can be traced back to the Old English word 'hlāford' which originated from 'hlāfweard' meaning 'bread keeper' or 'loaf-ward', reflecting the Germanic tribal custom of a chieftain providing food for his followers.[1] Lady, the female equivalent, originates from a similar structure, believed to have originally meant 'loaf-kneader'.

Posted by: pragmaticstill | October 19, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

The whole "She meant the term, not the concept" line is pretty easily demolished due to this back and forth from the AP article.

"The First Amendment establishes the separation, the fact that the federal government shall not establish religion," Coons said.

"The First Amendment does?" O'Donnell interrupted. "You're telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?"

When Coons summarized the amendment as saying government shall make no law establishing religion, O'Donnell interrupted again: "That's in the First Amendment?"

Hard to see how she can wiggle out of it. She has a very clear misunderstanding of the First Amendment.

Posted by: Brishon | October 19, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

PaciolisRevenge, I can cut and paste too, but none of that answers my questions. Did YOU find the words "our Lord" in the Constitution yet? Who do YOU think the reference is to, if not Jesus Christ?

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

And how much freedom of speech is there in shristian theism? Blasphemy is not freedom of speech, the first 3 of the 10 commandments god used for himself. For people who love the constitution so much, its amazing they dont get how poorly religion and freedom of speech go together. They dont.

Iran anyone?

Posted by: Chops2 | October 19, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

PaciolisRevenge, did you find the words "our Lord" in the Constitution yet? Who do you think the reference is to, if not Jesus Christ?

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 4:27 PM

*******

As you can see from my earlier posts many of the most influential founding fathers were diests. Do you know what that means?

Deism (pronounced /ˈdiːɪzəm/, us dict: dē′·ĭzm the philosophy of religion is the standpoint that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that a supreme being created the universe. Further the term often implies that this supreme being does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the natural laws of the universe. Deists typically reject supernatural events such as prophecy and miracles, tending to assert that God (or "The Supreme Architect") has a plan for the universe that is not to be altered by intervention in the affairs of human life. Most deists see holy books not as authoritative divine revelations but as human interpretations.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism

Posted by: PaciolisRevenge | October 19, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Hard to see how she can wiggle out of it.
-------------------------------------
Hey, Ms. O'Donnell is a master (actually mistress) wiggler. She wiggled Princeton, Oxford and Claremont to cover up the lack of an undergraduate degree. Then, she wiggled a massive lawsuit to cover up the lack of employment. Then, she wiggled campaign funds to cover up the lack of personal funds.

If anyone can wiggle all over the place, it's Chastine.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | October 19, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I know what "deism" is. See how easy it is to actually answer a question?

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

...well maticstill, guess if that's all you got, your in the same life raft headed off the brink into hope, change, and fail purgatory...do we just keep throwing ever shrinking poo poo balls?

Quo Vadis mi amigos or hombre, qui pasa?

Posted by: SpendNomore | October 19, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

It was a freaking figure of speech used still today to denote the freaking date that the document was signed, claw man, it made no reference to any god or God, the document was signed on that date in the year of whatever lord or Lord someone wants to think about, write about, dream about.

Posted by: pragmaticstill | October 19, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Despite the secular nature of our national government, there is one unambiguous reference to Christ in the Constitution. Article VII dates the Constitution in "the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven." But what does this mean for the principle of religious liberty?
The answer is: nothing. Our dating system is an historical artifact of Western culture, and has no legal significance or implications for the meaning of the Constitution or the First Amendment. The American Colonies were established by Europeans; we naturally inherited the European practice of dating years from the birth of Christ. Nothing follows from this except the trivial observation that, in establishing our independence, we decided not to completely overthrow our cultural heritage.

In fact, the European dating system is infused with pagan holdovers that, if taken seriously, lead to exactly the opposite conclusions reached by accommodationists. We have a seven day week, after the model of ancient Israel, but we inherited Pagan names for these days; does the Constitution then establish Sun worship when it excepts Sunday from the ten days Presidents have to veto a bill before it becomes law? Does it establish worship of the Moon when it says that Congress will begin it's sessions on the first Monday of December? Does the use of European names for months mean that the Constitution establishes worship of Julius Caesar (July) or Augustus Caesar (August)? The issue was a serious one for some Christians; Quakers, for example, adopted numerical references for days and months precisely to avoid objectionable Pagan names. The rejection of the Quaker system suggests that the founders read very little into their dating practices. To base an argument on those practices is to stand on extraordinarily shaky ground.

To be sure, the Constitution could have avoided the words "Year of our Lord" in the date (as it does elsewhere when it refers to specific years), but it's hard to imagine why. "The Year of our Lord" was the standard way of dating important documents in the 1700s; its use was ritualistic, not religious. It is doubtful that anyone, Christian, deist, or otherwise, would have given the words a second thought, or ascribed to them any legal significance. And if the intent of the Constitution was to signal a favored status for Christianity, it could have done so in a thousand less ambiguous ways than including the words "in the Year of our Lord." That some accommodationists appeal to these words is silent testimony to how little evidence there is for the idea that the Constitution embodies Christian morality or thought.

http://candst.tripod.com/tnppage/arg10c.htm

Posted by: PaciolisRevenge | October 19, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

And to add to your beavis and butthead routine, what god or God is mentioned in the Pledge of Allegiance? HeHeHe

Hey, didja see the word GOD is mentioned on the dollar bill? hehehehe

Posted by: pragmaticstill | October 19, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

You answered the question, pragmaticstill. I am asking PaciolisRevenge now.

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Why does clawrence seem so MUCH like JakeD2?

Two sophists in such a small number of poster? What a coincidence!

Posted by: 12BarBlues | October 19, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

...isn't it amazing how teflon even a Amateur Statesman can be, but the real Beauty of 'it' is they don't hang around stinkin' up DC year after year and makin' it so unpleasant for the likes of Harry Greid (he says it's the tourists who smell bad and sadden him, but WE know better), et al...

Posted by: SpendNomore | October 19, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

You answered the question, pragmaticstill. I am asking PaciolisRevenge now.

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 4:58 PM

*********

See my post at 4:56

Posted by: PaciolisRevenge | October 19, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

"Two sophists in such a small number of poster? What a coincidence!"

Well, they both live in CA, so you're probably right. Now I know why my conversation with clawrence seemed so pointless the other day. Sheesh.

Posted by: lmsinca | October 19, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse


Why does clawrence seem so MUCH like JakeD2?

Two sophists in such a small number of poster? What a coincidence!

Posted by: 12BarBlues | October 19, 2010 5:00 PM |

.................

Did you catch Clawrence's post over the weekend, when he claimed that Palin having walked away before her term of office was up, was no different than JFK not having finished his term in office?

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Yes, PaciolisRevenge, I saw that. The unanswered question however is now "See how easy it is to actually answer a question?"

I'm not an accomodationalist, nor did I ever say that there's any legal significance to the words "our Lord" in the Constitution. I merely was proving that many people (including Coons) do not know what exact words are in the Constitution.

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

"It was in fact Chris Coons who demonstrated his ignorance of our country's founding documents when he could not name the five freedoms contained in the First Amendment."

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

lmsinca,

Jake claims to have moved to Connecticut.

Does clawrence try to bait people into birther debates, the way Jake constantly does?

Posted by: bearclaw1 | October 19, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

JakeD2 is now A Connecticut Cranky?

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

he could not name the five freedoms contained in the First Amendment.

Posted by: clawrence12
+++++++++++

The "five freedoms." How lovely. Did that come off a Norman Rockwell painting?

There are six: speech, press, assembly, petition, free exercise of religion, and freedom from government establishment of religion. Mashing the latter two together as "freedom of religion" is misleading.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | October 19, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

JakeD2 is now A Connecticut Cranky?

Posted by: Liam-still
+++++++++++

So he claimed, when he was posting on Weigel's old blog, Right Now.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | October 19, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

bearclaw, I don't know if it came from a painting. It's certainly not as misleading, however, as saying that "separation of church and state is in the First Amendment."

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

"JakeD2 is now A Connecticut Cranky?"

I've heard him say he lives in CT, rather he said that he is going to vote for Linda McMahon.

(Who btw has now spent more than $40 MILLION of her own money trying to buy the CT Senate seat)

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20101019/el_yblog_upshot/mcmahon-spends-41-5-million-on-her-ct-senate-bid

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 19, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

"It's certainly not as misleading, however, as saying that 'separation of church and state is in the First Amendment.'"

There's nothing even remotely misleading about the Establishment Clause.


Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 19, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Did you catch Clawrence's post over the weekend, when he claimed that Palin having walked away before her term of office was up, was no different than JFK not having finished his term in office?
-------------------------------
I'd had a few suspicions, but when I saw the JFK comment, that's when it seemed just too coincidental.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | October 19, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Ethan2010, then you've never heard of the Lemon test and patchwork of subsequent cases.

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

'd had a few suspicions, but when I saw the JFK comment, that's when it seemed just too coincidental.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | October 19, 2010 5:39 PM

................

Birds of a feather flock together. JakeD2 and Clawrence; AKA Double Loons.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

clawrence,

The fact that there is a tension between the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause (which is what is reflected in the test from Lemon v. Kurtzman) hardly makes the Establishment Clause "misleading."

Posted by: bearclaw1 | October 19, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

So stipulation by consensus here has four or five of the founders as deists, or for ya'll in Ann Arbor, believers in God, or lukewarm practioners of some organized religion.

IIRC the Declaration signers in the aggregate were more religious but, of course, it depends on your POV and whose biographer you've read and quoted.

None has been able to tie "separation of church and state," as practiced today, to any founding document or, for that matter, any founder.

Just sayin'.

nb: Whatever you think of Rainforest, and I'm on record as not being a fan, the viciousness and pretty vile epithets tossed his way in this thread are, uh, kinda new...so welcome to PL from whatever dingo pack you've migrated from.

His switching of tags is enough to kick in the violation of terms, maybe you could let someone with a lot less overt contempt take care of it. Like, uh, the host.

I think the vitriol is from anger and frustration, and not so much with RainCapLeaf, they're (heh) merely the most convenient punching bags at hand...

Posted by: tao9 | October 19, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Are people really trying to argue that in a Senatorial debate involving the First Amendment the only point O'Donnell was trying to make was that the actual words "separation of church and state" don't actually appear in the text of the Amendment?

And that in order to make that ever so compelling point she said, "Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?"

Why would you make such a point? And if you decided to make that point then why would you make it in the way she did?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | October 19, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Tao. The Yankees took a beat down last night. They are lucky not to be down three games to nil.

Tell the truth, as a Red Sox fan, even though you had to pretend to be rooting for the Yankees, in order to maintain peace and tranquility in the domicile, inwardly you were dancing a jig of elation. Weren't you? You were, weren't you. Gwan Gwan Gwan, fess up.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

None has been able to tie "separation of church and state," as practiced today, to any founding document or, for that matter, any founder.

tao9

+++++++++++++++

Wrong, if Thomas Jefferson counts as a "Founder." The reference to a "wall separation between Church and State" first appeared in a Supreme Court opinion in, I believe, 1947, but it comes from Jefferson's famous letter to the Danbury Baptists, in which he stated: "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

Jefferson had considerable experience with the Baptists who, at least at that time, wanted not only to be able to practice their religion without interference, they also did not want to be forced (through taxes or otherwise) to support any other church than their own. It was the complaint of Baptists in Virginia that led to Jefferson's drafting of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.

Posted by: bearclaw1 | October 19, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

And that in order to make that ever so compelling point she said, "Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?"

Why would you make such a point? And if you decided to make that point then why would you make it in the way she did?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | October 19, 2010 6:03 PM

..................

I think it may just be how she is wired, that she will always play the contrarian role, regardless of if she is way of base or not.

It appears that is how she made her TV show biz bones. In all those clips from the Bill Maher show; there is one constant; no matter what the topic is, it is alway Christine alone, arguing against everyone else.

We all have know people like that; who you can get to say black is white, simply by stating white is white.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

"How lovely. Did that come off a Norman Rockwell painting?"

Now, sir, you insolent pollock, you've dashed it!

What could an ursine hangnail possibly know about art or freedom?

{{{throws gardening glove on ground in lieu of guantlet}}}

Posted by: tao9 | October 19, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Tao9,

Uh oh. Let's see if I can calm the situation down a bit. Norman Rockwell actually did a series of paintings called "The Four Freedoms," based on FDR's speech about Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear.

But you are right -- that is about the limit of my knowledge of art.

As for freedom, all I know is that freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose . . .

Posted by: bearclaw1 | October 19, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

But it was worth something for me and Bobby McGee. Not sure I would trade all my tomorrows though; perhaps a half dozen of them.

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Liam,

Truth? Red I am. Oiy, it's a good cop you've knocked, gov'ner.

It's just too bad, and sure we hope they do as well tonight.

Posted by: tao9 | October 19, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Red Sox fans view the Yankees like the South Side Irish view the Cubs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGRVPEF7GJA

Posted by: Liam-still | October 19, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

bearclaw, I really doubt that Ethan2010 has even read those cases.

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully, Angle can still beat Reid. At least on the House side, even if the Republicans do not take back the majority:

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/124835-democrat-says-hes-heard-pelosi-wont-run-again-for-speaker

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 19, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

bearclaw1 is correct. Prior to the various state constitutions, parishioners of all church sects were forced to pay "taxes" to support the state church. During the state constitutional conventions, people of differing sects petitioned their representatives to eliminate the tax, stating that they were being discriminated against. They were being forced to pay a tax to support a church they did not adhere to. They found those taxes unfair, unjust, and just plain wrong.

Values did not enter into the conversation, since most held the same WASP values. But the idea of being taxed to support a church to which you did not belong did.

As a result, Virginia and Massachusetts, in particular, wrote into their state constitutions that would not interfere with religion nor would religion become a state affair. Separation of church and state, for the first time in human history, would exist, giving the maximum freedom to church goers of every creed.

When the Constitution of the US was being drafted, the men who had worked on state constitutions - men such as Madison, Jefferson, Adams - chose the same methodologies they had found so desirable by the populace in their states.

Of course, these men knew the history of religion in Europe: the Inquisition in Spain, the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre in France in which hundreds of thousands of Calvinists were slaughtered over the course of a week, the Bishops Wars in Scotland up to and including Culloden, and the burning of Protestants in England under Mary.

Nevertheless, their primary motive in choosing to separate religion from the state was not what had occurred in Europe but to provide the maximum freedom of religious expression in the U.S.

They, essentially, said no matter what your religious persuasion, the state will not discriminate against you, by levying taxes against you or prohibiting you, in any way, from worshiping as you choose.

Essentially our Founders in writing the First Amendment stated, as Queen Elizabeth I told her Protestant ministers who urged her to prosecute Catholics, "I am not the conscience of men's souls regarding religion. That is between you and your God." Thus, the founders stated correctly, the State will not take sides between one religion or another.

Posted by: valkayec | October 19, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

And the State not taking sides between one religion or another means that the adherents of those religions can democratically influence the State (the First Amendment does not prohibit religious individuals from influencing government, just the other way around). Again, Thomas Jefferson was not one of the men who wrote the Constitution.

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 20, 2010 12:57 AM | Report abuse

Dumb Bunny said:

"And just what constitution do you mean, Charlie?"

The woman is following orders from her handlers, the T-publicans. Her instructions were to answer all questions with questions so that her ignorance will remain deniable. That's the reason that O'Donell and Angle sound about the same: They are following the same script.

As for debating the separation of state and church, why bother. Of course the first amendment was written by men who understood very well what an "established" church meant. The official church in the English colonies was the Church of England. The point of not having an official church was to allow for freedom of conscience.

Writers of the Constitution of the US such as Jefferson and Franklin were well aware of other religions and accepted atheism as well as Islam as valid religious views. How unlike the bigots of today who try to twist the words of the "founding fathers" to say whatever they would like them to say.

CB in Hamburg

Posted by: chrisbrown12 | October 20, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

The idea that the democrats are going to make some partisan point here is ridiculous.

Apparently the democrats are desperate to find a reason to say that Christine O'Donnell is incorrect on some historical point.


HOWEVER, the democrats have only PROVEN their own ignorance. Christine O'Donnell is correct on this point.


The democrats are only PROVING how mean they are.

The democrats have no issue here. In fact, the democrats have proven that they are unable to govern and they are completely worthless in any effort to be bipartisan.

Posted by: LeafofLife | October 20, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Teapot's answer:

"Which constitution do you mean, Charlie?"

It's no coincidence that T-publican candidates like O'Donnell, Angle and Palin show their ignorance when asked about basic documents like the Constitution. They have been trained by their handlers to reply to questions they don't understand with a further question.

The t-publicans are dumb as straw as the German saying goes, or if you prefer an English expression, thick as two short planks.

It's hardly worth debating the Constitution with so called "strict constructionists" as they are twisters and are not really interested in Constitutional history nor any history at all.

For those who are interested, founders such as Franklin and Jefferson knew very wekk what separation of Church and State meant as they had grown up as British subjects and were thus subject to the official established church, i.e. the Church of England.

CB in Hamburg

Posted by: chrisbrown12 | October 20, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Try again:

Angle and O'Donnell both use the same tactics when answering questions because their handlers have instructed them to do so. They, like Palin, have been told to answer an uncomfortagle question with a qustion. That O'Donnell knows nothing about the Constitution should come as no surprise to anyone who has listened to her other bizarre statements.

CB in Hamburg

Posted by: chrisbrown12 | October 20, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

chrisbrown, 4th time's a charm. What does "wekk" mean?

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 20, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

I actually assumed the seperation of church and state was in the constitution until I read this article and was surprised to find that it isn't. The first amendment seems to simply protect religion from interference by the state and this was later interpreted as complete seperation of church and state. I agree with the complete seperation of church and state but O'Donnell and Angle are right technically and this is being spun a little dishonestly.

Posted by: peterg73 | October 20, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

peterg73, careful or someone will accuse you of being JakeD too.

Posted by: clawrence12 | October 20, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

clawrence12:

Lots of right-thinking people here get accused of being me : )

Wear it as a badge of courage!

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 20, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

agree with the complete seperation of church and state but O'Donnell and Angle are right technically and this is being spun a little dishonestly.

Posted by: peterg73
---------------------------------------

You really think O'Donnell was trying to make a "technical" point? I urge you to read the transcript.

If she was trying to make the point that the actual words don't appear in the Constitution then why didn't she say exactly that?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | October 20, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I cannot stand when people jump to the conclusion that someone they want to believe is stupid is being stupid when they say something that seems wrong. Think first. Is it wrong?

And I hate the converse — the assumption that the supposedly smart person has said something smart. Stop. Slow down. Read/listen closely. It's often the case that what we have is a banal political disagreement. And that's what I think this O'Donnell/Coons thing is.

I really wish I had the verbatim transcript of the colloquy, and that's the main reason I've been dragging my feet posting on this. The reporters aren't presenting the quotes in a reliable fashion. And we need to begin with stark clarity that the text of the Establishment Clause is: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

So let's look at the reporting:

"Where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?" O'Donnell asked while Democrat Chris Coons, an attorney, sat a few feet away.
Plainly, the Constitution does not say "separation of church and state," so there's nothing stupid there. It's provocative, because many people like that gloss on the text.

Coons responded that O'Donnell's question "reveals her fundamental misunderstanding of what our Constitution is. ... The 1st Amendment establishes a separation."
He's talking about interpretations of the text, and she was talking about the text. What we're hearing is 2 individuals talking past each other.

She interrupted to say, "The 1st Amendment does? ... So you're telling me that the separation of church and state, the phrase 'separation of church and state,' is in the 1st Amendment?"
She's telling him to pay attention to her limited point about the text.

He noted again the 1st Amendment's ban on establishment of religion.
Ah, here's where I hate reporters. Give me the quote. I don't think Coons quite gets it. Ah. Here. He says: "Government shall make no establishment of religion."

O'Donnell reacts: "That's in the 1st Amendment?" And, in fact, it's not. The 1st Amendment doesn't say "government." It says "Congress." And since the discussion was about what local school boards can do, the difference is highly significant.

Also, it isn't "shall make no establishment of religion." It's "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." There's a lot one could say about the difference between those 2 phrases, and I won't belabor it here. Suffice it to say that it was not stupid for O'Donnell to say "That's in the 1st Amendment?" — because it's not. Coons was presenting a version of what's in the cases interpreting the text, not the text itself.

The 2 were talking past each other, trying to look good and make the other look bad. It is a disagreement about law between 2 individuals who are not running for judge. It's not detailed legal analysis. It's a political debate and this is a political disagreement. An important one, no doubt ...

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 20, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

... But it can't be resolved by laughing at one person and calling her an idiot, something I find quite repellent.

(cont.)

Perhaps she emphasized "First" because the discussion had been about what local school boards could do, and restrictions on them would need to come out of the 14th Amendment.* Now, Coons does properly restrict his assertion to the federal government at that point, but:

A minute later, O'Donnell brings the discussion back to this question:

O'Donnell: Let me just clarify: You're telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?

Coons: Government shall make no establishment of religion.

O'Donnell: That's in the First Amendment.
Again, you need the audio, and in this case full-screen video, to get her meaning. As she says, "That's in the First Amendment," she stares at Coons with a look of contemptuous amusement. (You can see her expression more clearly in this video, about 7 minutes in.) Then she grins knowingly at somebody in the audience. She thinks Coons has just embarrassed himself.
"Government shall make no establishment of religion" is a blatant misstatement of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...") Now, I'm not trying to skewer Coons for saying that. Coons is doing well enough for speaking purposes. This isn't scholarly writing. But he's open to questioning, and O'Donnell might have pursued the point. Maybe she grinned because she knew he'd said something wrong.

Saletan proceeds, on this scanty evidence, to insist that the real problem with O'Donnell is that she is too confident when she speaks. Supposedly, that makes her "impervious" to new information and arguments, and that would be bad. Yeah, it would be bad. But this is a political debate! It's not the time to make a show of uncertainty and doubt. It's a time to state clear positions so voters can make a choice. I'm sure if O'Donnell had seemed uncertain about what to think, Saletan would have attacked her for her weakness. Instead, he's left criticizing her for "imperviousness." That's really lame. It reminds me of the way people of the left were always calling George Bush "incurious." It might make some sense if an ever-searching, ever-questioning intelligence was demanded of every candidate, across the political spectrum, but it is not.

My working theory is that it's Saletan who is impervious — and incurious. But I will continue, as ever, to search and question (and be, as ever, completely ill-suited to run for political office).

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2010/10/slate-and-stupid-william-saletans-cocky.html

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 20, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone NOT on my Ignore List for refusing to answer my questions want to discuss the topic further?

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 20, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone NOT on my Ignore List for refusing to answer my questions want to discuss the topic further?

Posted by: JakeD2
----------------------------------------

Jake, am I on your ignore list? If not, then I'd be happy to discuss this more.

Let me just say that this is a great example of a non-issue being blow out of proportion. I don't think this shows O'Donnell to be an idiot. There is no way I could draw that conclusion because it's not even clear what point she is trying to make.

If her point was that the specific words don't appear in the text of the First Amendment, she made her point poorly and it's a silly point to be making.

If her point is more nuanced that the text only references Congress and not the government in general or that she thinks the Courts have interpreted that First Amendment wrongly, she similarly did a very poor job of making that point.

Like I said, I'm not sure what point she was making.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | October 20, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

agree with the complete seperation of church and state but O'Donnell and Angle are right technically and this is being spun a little dishonestly.

Posted by: peterg73
---------------------------------------

You really think O'Donnell was trying to make a "technical" point? I urge you to read the transcript.

If she was trying to make the point that the actual words don't appear in the Constitution then why didn't she say exactly that?

Posted by: ashotinthedark
==========================================
I don't know what her intent was and maybe she was right by accident. Her follow up statement says she was making a technical point for whatever that is worth. I don't vote in conneticut, I just find it interesting how much the media is attempting to manipulate this race. This topic is pretty interesting though for those that want to look more into it. It seems the "seperation of church and state" comes from Thomas Jefferson in writing about the first amendment but interestingly enough he was not actually involved in writing the US constitution. Obviously his opinion carries tremendous weight but it is still an opinion.

Posted by: peterg73 | October 20, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

No, you are not on my Ignore List -- which should be obvious by me answering your question in a civil manner, of which I only require that you return the same common courtesy -- it's not a silly point since STRICT CONSTRUCTIONISTS continuously point out what is and isn't written in the Constitution.

As for your confusion, what don't you understand about her asking: "So you're telling me that the separation of church and state, the phrase 'separation of church and state,' is in the 1st Amendment?"

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 20, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

bearclaw1 and Ethan2010 are WRONG about the "wall" of separation too (from a recent Sup. Ct. decision):

“Judicial caveats against entanglement must recognize that the line of separation, far from being a ‘wall,’ is a blurred, indistinct, and variable barrier depending on all the circumstances of a particular relationship.”

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 20, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Jake-

I figured my "silly" comment would get me a comment about how strict constructionists would disagree with that. You're right it isn't silly to them, but the seperation of Church and State is a long established part of our Constitutional jurisprudence that hasn't simply failed to realize that the words aren't actually in the First Amendment. That's why I think it's silly. To be honest, silly is an inartful and dismissive way of expressing what I mean. I think reasonable people can disagree on many of these issues, particularly when it comes to interpreting the Constitution. So I do my best to avoid being dismissive of or insulting towards differing views.

The failure of Greg to include the O'Donnell's follow-up question that you quoted is ridiculous. I just watched the video of the debate and it removes any uncertainty as to what she meant. She clearly meant the phrase itself was not in the 1st Amendment. And shame on me for thinking Greg would include all the relevant portion of the exchange.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | October 20, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that at least -- I prefer to call the concept "Separation of State from Church" too -- if you want to discuss this more:

http://volokh.com/2010/10/20/senator-odonnell/comment-page-5/#comment-1014537

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 20, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Although unfortunately presented inarticulately, Ms. O’Donnell is correct that "separation of church and state" does not appear in the Constitution, nor is it a correct interpretation of the Establishment clause. The sole meaning of the Establishment clause was to prohibit the federal government from preferring one faith as a national religion. The 20th century Supreme Court rulings expanding that clause to incorporate the bigoted 19th century anti-Catholic concept of "separation of church and state" are an unconstitutional exercise of judicial overreach, as well as creating a jurisprudence which even pro-separationists acknowledge is incoherent. We need to amend the first amendment to restore the original meaning of its establishment clause, which is non-preference among denominations, not secular hostility to faith in general. See http://www.timelyrenewed.com.

Posted by: tr1123 | October 21, 2010 2:25 AM | Report abuse

Labeling Christine "dumb and ignorant" makes you feel secure, warm & fuzzy?

Try again with an open mind - here's debate video you haven't seen:

http://www.mrc.org/biasalert/2010/20101021024521.aspx

Posted by: coonswrong | October 26, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

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