Christine O’Donnell Right; Coons Wrong; But Guess What?

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Chris Coons and Christine O’Donnell, senate candidates for Delaware, had a debate at the Widener University Law School. The exchange that is getting all the attention is when O’Donnell questions Coons where “separation of church and state” is in the constitution. This is in reply to Coon’s assertion that public schools cannot teach religion.

Coons then replies that it’s in the first amendment, and quotes it as “Congress shall not establish religion”.

O’Connell smirks. The audience gasps.

The media is trying to play this up as if O’Donnell is so stupid as to not know that the first amendment separates church and state. Conservative defenders of O’Donnell point out that she was absolutely correct. (See The Blaze’s coverage.)

I am not surprised that no one realizes what the first amendment actually says. It reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

What this means has been the subject of debate in public and court decisions over the past 50 years.

It used to be that this amendment was very clear. Congress stays out of religion (the “no  law” part), and religion gets to walk all over congress (“or prohibiting free exercise thereof”). That is what Jefferson and everyone else intended.

Now, Coons and the left today wants to banish religion from our society altogether. They want to eliminate any public expression of religious belief. They want to eliminate any public teaching of religious belief. They want people to be judged by their religious beliefs and those who have odd beliefs to be cast out or punished for them. They want to use congress and the federal courts to help them in their goals to make our society a secular one, rather than keeping our government secular and our society free.

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