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O’Donnell Again: Where in Constitution is Separation of Church & State?

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By HVpolitics on October 19, 2010

Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell is a bit of a political punching bag. She’s an easy target, and there’s nothing particularly challenging about picking off low hanging fruit.

But sometimes the need to warn people against voting for someone so criminally unqualified to hold elected office trumps the want to stay away from the Red X affixed to her back.

This is one of those times.

In a WDEL debate this morning against Democratic opponent Chris Coons, O’Donnell spoke up loudly against Coons’ point that local schools should teach science rather than religion. O’Donnell perked up and asked, “Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” You can hear the audible groans and laughter emerge from the audience at Widener Law School.

Coons rightly pointed to the First Amendment, which they also teach in our schools (well, some of them apparently), which states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

At that point, O’Donnell interrupted to ask, “You’re telling me the First Amendment does?” If Coons were a lesser man, he might’ve retorted by saying “Yes, we’re all telling you that. You’re elementary school teacher told you that. Your Social Studies teacher in high school told you that. Your college professors told you that. Even if you’ve never read the United States Constitution for yourself, at least 50 people in your life should’ve told you that.” Probably not very statesman-like, sure.

WDEL is hosting the full audio of Tuesday morning’s debate, but you can listen to the exchange in question here, courtesy of Politico:

We’re all for voicing dissent aimed at Washington DC. We’re all for getting back to a representative democracy. There are elements of the Tea Party that stand for good and stand for a vision of America we can all get behind. But why are we actively campaigning against open-and-shut issues? Since when did we start thinking about the Civil Rights Act as a burden to freedom? Since when did we start thinking children of immigrants born on this soil shouldn’t be American citizens, as stated in the 14th Amendment? Since when did we decide to question whether our president is an American citizen? Since when did we decide that ripping up our paved roads was a positive idea for the nation?

Now we’re openly questioning the fundamental separation of church and state. How far are we wiling to go? Do we want to live by the First Amendment or the First Commandment?

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