There was an excessive amount of chatter among the Twits in the Twitterverse today after WDEL 1150AM radio released an audio clip of the Christine O’Donnell and Chris Coons debate at Widener University Law School.
The clip has Christine O’Donnell interrupting opponent Chris Coons as he explains why he doesn’t believe creationism should be taught in public schools.
“Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” Christine O’Donnell queried before an audience erupting into laughter.
“Let me just clarify,” Christine O’Donnell continued. “You are telling me that the separation of church and state is in the First Amendment?”
Chris Coons then paraphrased the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment for O’Donnell before she asked again “that’s in the First Amendment?”
Here is the entire text of the First Amendment for others who may not know:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Christine O’Donnell’s original query is substantive. The phrase “separation of church and state” appears nowhere in the U.S. Constitution. For many Americans, this causes confusion. Some even believe that the absence of the phrase is a clear indication that we, as a nation, take the separation of church and state too far.
According to a study conducted by the James L. Knight Foundation, one in three American high school students think even the existing wording in the First Amendment goes too far in protecting individual liberty.
Christine O’Donnell and many religious conservatives admire the ideals of theocracy and choose to not accept the interpretation of the First Amendment as implying a strict separation of church and state.
There is nothing wrong with that point of view. It is a viewpoint protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution.
However, it is not a new claim as many pretend. The meaning of the First Amendment has been challenged since the Constitution was ratified. The exact meaning of the phrase played a role in numerous debates in the early Presidential administrations of the United States.
This story continues here.
Associated Press, First Amendment no big deal, students say