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Tilting at Windmills

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October 20, 2010

LIMBAUGH PLAYS CONSTITUTIONAL SCHOLAR.... The significance of Christine O'Donnell's ignorance about the separation of church and state goes beyond just pointing and laughing. There's a striking push this year among right-wing candidates to attack constitutional principles -- all the while, running as "constitutional conservatives" -- an assault that is likely to continue if they make significant gains in the midterm elections.

In this particular case, O'Donnell asked during a debate at a law school, "Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?" While that may not have been too unusual for conservatives, when Chris Coons reminded her of the constitutional language, she asked, "That's in the First Amendment?"

Of course, Nevada's Sharron Angle, who actually has a strong chance of winning, has made very similar remarks, and yesterday, Rush Limbaugh endorsed the nonsense -- which suggests Republicans everywhere will be expected to agree.

In one of his signature rants this afternoon, Limbaugh excoriated O'Donnell's detractors by claiming the left has used the shorthand "separation of church and state" as a rationale for excluding religious people from government -- as evidenced by the profusion of atheists serving in national office.

"Are you telling me separation of church and state's in the First Amendment?" Limbaugh asked. "It's not. Christine O'Donnell was absolutely correct -- the First Amendment says absolutely nothing about the separation of church and state."

Limbaugh added that liberals have interpreted the First Amendment to mean "that religious people cannot be in government." I knew there was a reason government had been overrun by atheists.

Given where I used to work many years ago, this is a subject of particular interest. The right has been saying that church-state separation isn't in the Constitution for a very long time -- the Limbaugh/O'Donnell/Angle line isn't new, though O'Donnell took it a little further than most -- but reality is stubborn.

In a January 1, 1802 letter, President Thomas Jefferson wrote of the intended relationship between religion and government: "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 prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."

The Establishment Clause sets up a line of demarcation between religion and government in our society, and the Supreme Court determines where the line is drawn to accommodate liberties in our ever-changing society. Although the exact language is absent, the Supreme Court has repeatedly determined that the Constitution does indeed call for separation between church and state.

Jefferson's "wall of separation between church and state" was first noted by the Supreme Court in an 1878 opinion by Chief Justice Morrison Waite. Justice Hugo Black later reaffirmed the wall's significance in the landmark case Everson v. Board of Education (1947). Black wrote "In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between church and state.'" The wall forbids government to actually or effectively favor one religion over another, favor religion over non-religion and vice-versa. Requiring neutrality removes the authority of government from religious practice and protects each citizen's right to express his or her personal beliefs.

One can obviously read the Constitution and see that the literal phrase "separation of church and state" isn't there, but a basic understanding of history and the law makes clear that the phrase is a shorthand to describe what the First Amendment does -- it separates church from state.

Indeed, a variety of constitutional principles we all know and recognize aren't literally referenced in the text. Americans' "right to a fair trial" is well understood, but the exact phrase isn't in the Constitution. "Separation of powers" is a basic principle of the U.S. Constitution, but it isn't mentioned, either. More to the point, you can look for the phrase "freedom of religion" in the First Amendment, but those three words also don't appear.

Ultimately, if you're relying on extremist candidates and right-wing media personalities for constitutional scholarship, you're going to be deeply confused.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (47)

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Comments

It's just dog-whistle language for the religious authoritarians that make up the bulk of the Republican Right (aka the Teatards).

The phrase does not appear, ergo, the Framers agree the American Taliban should rule. And did someone mention the "black robed regiment?"

it really is a mistake to look carefully at the literal meaning of the language they use, or at any of what they cite as facts or history. It's typically incorrect or inconsistent, but that doesn't matter, as they well know. It's all about emotional response. You don't need to be correct or coherent to evoke emotional response -- in fact, the opposite is usually better.

Posted by: bleh on October 20, 2010 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

Likely the biggest irony here is that right wing Christians have no idea how much the 1st Amendment has done to DEFEND their right to freely practice their faith. I wonder how many of them have ever stopped to consider that removing this protection would have the potential to put government in charge of their kids' religious instruction. And what a nightmare THAT would be. Is that something they really want to have happen?

Posted by: Chris on October 20, 2010 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

But... it has electrolytes!

Posted by: Kevin Ray on October 20, 2010 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

Just pitiful. In years gone by any one of these numerous gaffes would have been enough for a "Maccaca" moment wherein the MSM and the general populace would have said "This person is unqualified to hold office" Now -a shrug by all concerned . The bar has been lowered so far as to be embedded in the pavement.

Posted by: John R on October 20, 2010 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

While we're at it, let's remind her that "Right to Life" is not in the Constitution either.

Posted by: martin on October 20, 2010 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that you have to stop at a red light or a stop sign. Outside of killing or injuring someone other than yourselves, I'd suggest you religious "Constitutionalist's" test this theory out with your local police force.

And which brand of Christ should control the government, or should the government sponsor? And what do you do to those who follow the wrong brand, or don't believe in it? Convert them, confine them, or worse?

Posted by: c u n d gulag on October 20, 2010 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

Chris said:
. . . government in charge of their kids' religious instruction. And what a nightmare THAT would be. Is that something they really want to happen?

Actually, it is. They often want to see school prayer mandated by government and want government restrictions on which religion's prayers can be offered.

The true irony, which no one in the religious right understands is that the idea of the separation of church and state originated from the Catholic church in the 9th century as a way to protect the church from the corrupting influence of the secular government.


Posted by: SteveT on October 20, 2010 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

Teh stoopid -- it buuuuuuuurnz!

But, seriously, this reinterpretation of the US Constitution is starting to make me very nervous.

Posted by: karen marie on October 20, 2010 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Rush also fails to realize that if the Government was overrun by atheists, how much better it would run.

No winter break aka endless xmas events from the day after Thanksgiving through mid January. Or the idiotic decorations that people spend the work day on...

Posted by: r_m on October 20, 2010 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

In fact Coons made exactly the argument presented here --- that the establishment clause in the 1st amendment has been bolstered by case law and the Supreme Court.

O'Donnell, if I recall correctly, lists among her several "educational" studies one specifically in Constitutional Law (was that the six-weeks course?). I guess we can now surmise the value of that exercise.

O'Donnell is a bad joke.

Posted by: SquareState on October 20, 2010 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

"Limbaugh added that liberals have interpreted the First Amendment to mean "that religious people cannot be in government."

I think I'll send Rush an invitation to the the "Christmas Party" we will have here at the federal agency I work for. Yes, that's right, no one in my agency calls it a Holiday Party. They just make no atrewmpt to be politcally correct, and no one cares about that.

For what it's worth, I consider myself to be very religious and my religion has taught me that we should be our brother's keepers (or brothers and sisters, if you must). This notion that people can claim to be religious and then speak out against looking after the less fortunate in our society is just nonsense.

Posted by: Vandal on October 20, 2010 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

So on the one hand, the Oxycontin Kid and Friends believe that, because the First Amendment doesn't explicitly use the phrase "church shall be separate from the state", that the amendment doesn't mean that, and that this is not what the Founders intended, subsequent writings be damned. On the other hand, the same group of "enlightened" people believe that the Second Amendment explicitly entitles the average shmoe to have semi-automatic assault rifles, whether they're part of a militia or not. Okaaaaaaaayyyyy.

Posted by: josef on October 20, 2010 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

Why don't the religious Tea Partiers just get down to cases and torch the Jefferson Memorial to protest that atheist, big-spending socialist?
Oh, that's right, he did own slaves.

Posted by: bjm240240 on October 20, 2010 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Who are all these atheists in our national government? Can anybody name one?

Posted by: Speed on October 20, 2010 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

And which brand of Christ should control the government, or should the government sponsor? And what do you do to those who follow the wrong brand, or don't believe in it? Convert them, confine them, or worse?

Emo:

"Are you religious or atheist?"

"Religious."

I said, "Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?"

He said, "Christian."

I said, "Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?"

He said, "Protestant."

I said, "Me too! Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?"

He said, "Baptist!"

I said, "Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?"

He said, "Baptist Church of God!"

I said, "Me too! Are you original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?"

He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God!"

I said, "Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915?"

He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God, reformation of 1915!"

I said, "Die, heretic scum", and pushed him off.

Posted by: Todd for Vermont House on October 20, 2010 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

And where the hell are all the atheists in office? Or are all the Muslims overrunning our country really atheists?

Posted by: Todd for Vermont House on October 20, 2010 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, they want the government to impose their particular religious ideology. Somehow, this nation won two World Wars without the insertion of "under God" in our Pledge. Then, followers of "The Family" forced this on our nation.

What is amazing about those who want to, literally, see the words "separation of church and state" in the Constitution before they will believe it exists, are the same who go nuts over seeing the word Socialist in NSDAP Then, they write reams about how the Nazis were Socialists, therefore, Leftists, without understanding the Nazi Party never imposed Socialism on any business entity and, killed their Socialist members or forced their leaders into exile on the "Night of the Long Knives". These folks on the right are indeed, extremely, simplistic.

Posted by: berttheclock on October 20, 2010 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

It might also be pointed out that, as SCOTUS majority opinions are, in effect, the constitution as well, the phrase does indeed occur their; unless the 'originalist' nutjobs want to claim that court precedence has no part to play in constitutional law.

Posted by: jhm on October 20, 2010 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

"if you're relying on extremist candidates and right-wing media personalities for constitutional scholarship, you're going to be deeply confused."

In their minds, it is more like: "if you're relying on extremist candidates and right-wing media personalities for constitutional scholarship" you are going to know you are right. Confusion implies that they are actually giving some thought to it vs their characteristic lock step, knee jerk reactions.

Posted by: lou on October 20, 2010 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

Limbaugh added that liberals have interpreted the First Amendment to mean "that religious people cannot be in government."

Nice to see El Rushbo dust off the straw man he keeps prominently under his desk. But I'm not surprised by his taking a swing for the Wiccan Lady. This sort of grinding away at the foundation of our country in service to the plutocracy is smack dab in the middle of El Rushbo's domain.

Posted by: BluePotSmokesBetter on October 20, 2010 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

I'm less concerned with the xtian confusion than I am with the idea that they will succeed with cramming their specific brand of lunacy down the nation's collective throat. Don't look to the Democrats for help to resist stupid law. They lost their spine long ago.

Posted by: Chopin on October 20, 2010 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

"One can obviously read the Constitution and see that the literal phrase "separation of church and state" isn't there"

Exactly! And those people who deconstruct every document with a Webster's and nothing else have made their case! They think that laughter in the audience was from fellow literalists, happy that Christine had trapped the demon Marxist into her web of truth. Or something like that.

And you can quote Jefferson all you like, or 200+ years of precedents, or the actual shambles that state favor has made of religion--a good look at the state of the present Church of England would do--all to no avail. They've got that little fact in their head:

"One can obviously read the Constitution and see that the literal phrase "separation of church and state" isn't there"

and nothing will get it out.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on October 20, 2010 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

As josef noted, we can all play the game of "literal meaning" with the Constitution and the amendments. Because the 2nd amendment clearly ties the right to keep and bear arms to the need for a well-regulated militia. Individuals' rights to own guns are not mentioned there. Literally.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on October 20, 2010 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

It just clicked for my why so many rednecks wear sleeveless shirts. Its because they literally interpret the 2nd amendment as the right to bare arms.

Seriously, as Lifelong Dem points out the Conservatives pick and choose where they want the literal interpretation. Its kind of like that with the Bible. They are big on stressing the literal meaning in some cases (male/male sex is an abomination) but ignore it in other cases (adultery, eating shellfish, wearing a red dress etc.)

Posted by: Objective Dem on October 20, 2010 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

I think it's time for me to say, once again, that Organized Religion is the bane of humanity.

If one feels the need to worship, then, as I believe Jefferson suggested, do it quietly, and alone.

Posted by: DAY on October 20, 2010 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, Scalia, for one, doesn't believe there's a constitutional "right to a fair trial."

Posted by: Jose Padilla on October 20, 2010 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

The rational conservative objection to "separation of church and state" is based on the idea that the 1st Amendment only prevents the Federal Government from infringing the rights listed, not the states: "Congress shall make no law...". It appears to have been so interpreted until 1925 when the Supreme Court ruled (Gitlow) that the 1st amendment does not apply only to Congress. "Originalists" such as Clarence Thomas want to revert to that interpretation. Of course that interpretation would mean that freedom of speech and the press are not universally guaranteed by the Federal Government either, and states and local governments would be able not only to establish religions, but to eliminate the freedom of speech and the press. O'Donnell (and maybe Limbaugh) obviously has no understanding of the arguments but only picks up on the idea that her side questions the separation of church and state.

Posted by: skeptonomist on October 20, 2010 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

I think that what is more scary is after Chris Coons repeated what the Constitution says word for word O'Donnell says something like "it's a good thing Senators don't have to memorize the Constitution"

Christine - the audience was laughing AT you NOT with you.

Posted by: wbn on October 20, 2010 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Day,

Perhaps you should talk to people who derive benefit from organized religion instead of spouting off about it being the "bane of humanity." This may include numerous people helped at a time of death or crisis. It includes people who seek connection with other people on focusing on making their lives better and more moral. It includes people who benefit from religious leadership during the civil rights movement. Etc. Etc.

Yes, there are "bad" religious people and "bad" churches. But atheists like you who provide simple statements about religion being bad are not that different from the religious right who make simple statements about the nor-religious being bad.

Posted by: Objective Dem on October 20, 2010 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

And they always seem to forget that little phrase that's in the Constitution itself that says there shall be no religious test for public office.

I was channel surfing after Beckalooza and stopped at Fox. Back had some nutjob on talking about how the Founding Fathers meant the constitution for Christians and atheists have no rights because they gave them up by not believing in God.

Honest, that's what this guy said to Beck's followers. Sca-ry. and HTF he got this rationalization is beyond me.

Posted by: lou on October 20, 2010 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, I love this site and your writing...but you keep referencing the batshit looney ideas from the Far Reich as "confused". Just today you used this word to describe Christine O'Donnell's ignorance of the most basic elements of governance.

These people are not confused. They don't have any scruples about political debate, they are not sincere, and they know exactly what they are doing. They are liars. I wish you'd stop treating them with undeserved deference. Call them out!

Posted by: Big River Bandido on October 20, 2010 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Why do Tea Partiers hate America?

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on October 20, 2010 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

"you're going to be deeply confused."

Especially when you can bend and twist the Constitution to make say exactly what you want it to see for your own narrow partisan agenda. How ever we ever supposed to keep up when you Humpty Dumpties keep changing things constantly?

Posted by: Sean Scallon on October 20, 2010 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Where the hell is Rush Limbaugh seeing all these "atheists" in public office? Never mind the Constitutional language prohibiting a religious test for public office -- it's de facto impossible for anyone to win office in this country who doesn't at least pretend to belong some organized religion and at least pretend to believe in some form of the invisible man in the sky. Of course, I suspect that in Rush's vocabulary, "atheist" means anyone who doesn't believe exactly as he does, exactly the sort of mentality that led to the brutal religious wars in England that the Founding Fathers wanted to spare us from in this country.

Posted by: T-Rex on October 20, 2010 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

"Are you telling me separation of church and state's in the First Amendment?" Limbaugh asked.

Limbaugh helpfully fixes O'Donnell's blunder for her.

Check the record. Coons correctly quoted the First Amendment as saying the government shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion. O'Donnell shot back, "Are you telling me that's in the First Amendment?"

Rush, kindly soul he is, pretended that O'Donnell was reacting to something that was never said.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on October 20, 2010 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Christine O'Donnell and Rush Limbaugh are fools. But, had O'Donnell any brains, she could have made an important point about the well-known, though poorly-understood phrase, "the wall of separation between church and state."

The relevant portion of the First Amendment reads: "Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

This portion of the amendment clearly speaks about a separation between government and religion, but it creates this separaton for very specific purposes: 1) to protect the people from government-established religion, and 2) to protect religious beliefs and religious organizations from any government imposition.

As is too obvious, many religious groups, conservative Christians in particular, would rather ignore the first clause, eager to receive funds from the government for religious activities or impose prayers to their personal Deity at government-sponsored institutions and events. Their agenda seems clear: to establish their beliefs as the national religion.

But, on the other hand, and perhaps not so obvious, are those decidedly secular groups who would choose to ignore the second clause, claiming violations of the "wall of separation" by religious groups that lobby Congress or urge their members to take non-partisan, political action on behalf of their values through voter education or voter turn-out efforts. The agenda of these secular groups seems clear as well: they mean to deny certain citizens their full right to political participation because of their religious beliefs.

Christine O'Donnell and her ignorant ilk aside, it is important for rational secular citizens to understand that the purpose of the First Amendment is to expand the political and social rights of citizens, while defining strict limitations on the government in relation to those rights. There is simply nothing there that limits the rights of citizens nor the organizations with which they choose to associate. If there is, indeed, any wall, it is a wall protecting the people and their religious organizations from the state, not the other way around.

Posted by: nolawmeansnolaw on October 20, 2010 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

secular groups who would choose to ignore the second clause, claiming violations of the "wall of separation" by religious groups that lobby Congress or urge their members to take non-partisan, political action on behalf of their values

You carelessly forgot to name names here. I'm sure you must have several examples right at hand.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on October 20, 2010 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

"Who are all these atheists in our national government? Can anybody name one?"

Check out the Congressional list:
http://pewforum.org/uploadedfiles/Topics/Religious_Affiliation/appendix.pdf

I see a few "unspecified" but no "atheist"s.

Posted by: Hmmmmm on October 20, 2010 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Objective Dem, respectfully, as a saved Christian, I agree with Day.

The overwhelming and negative purposes to which organized religion has been put far outweigh the benefits it bestowes on humankind. Humans will seek comfort and we will find it, religion or not. My personality is of a kind to search for morality, kindness, and acceptance. God didn't hand that to me at the age of 22 when I was saved. And all the comfort I procured before that age came from delight of trees, sea, and animals, the very things I returned to after years of emptiness praying to an absent God. Humans will find comfort, morality, and kindness with or without religion. Perhaps if humans faced up to the fact there is no God to save us or hand us some blissful life after this, we'd do more to fix our own problems and create less war. Of course I don't know. But even saved...I still don't know.

And another thing Day is correct on:
Mat 6:6 "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."

Again, with respect...

Posted by: Skip on October 20, 2010 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

nolawmeansnolaw at 1:26:

But, on the other hand, and perhaps not so obvious, are those decidedly secular groups who would choose to ignore the second clause, claiming violations of the "wall of separation" by religious groups that lobby Congress or urge their members to take non-partisan, political action on behalf of their values through voter education or voter turn-out efforts.

I second Quaker in a Basement's call for some examples of this. I don't know of any "secular groups" who call for religious groups (and other non-profits) who "lobby Congress or urge their members to take non-partisan, political action on behalf of their values" to be silenced. Indeed, the members of such religious groups have an absolute First Amendment right to engage in such conduct.

What they don't have an absolute right to do is to receive a whole host of tax exemptions while engaged in electioneering on behalf of particular parties or candidates. That is a very different thing.

Posted by: Kenneth Fair on October 20, 2010 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

The separation of church/state protects all sides of the argument, if it is followed BY ALL SIDES. Human beings of ANY bent will ultimately act selfishly to shore up their little patch of power/money/control, and a strong scientific argument can be made that 1. atheism IS a type of religion, or at least a well rounded out world view, 2. evolution STARTS from the idea that there is no higher power that creates, and THEN goes on to explain what is seen in nature (if one starts with the possibility that there IS a creator, however one deigns to describe said creator, one can have a much much easier time explaining what is found in nature, including the fossil record) - my point? EVOLUTION IS TAUGHT AS SCIENTIFIC FACT IN OUR GOVERNMENT FUNDED PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEMS IN ALL 50 STATES.

This is AGAINST the concept of separation of religion/state, and is but ONE example of same.

Look, y'all should be GLAD we have BOTH sides fighting against each other, because I KNOW if you just stop and think deeply about it, a country run strictly by democrats or atheists would ultimately f*** itself up badly, as would a country run by pseudoChristian zealots.

Moderation in all things - good advice even IF it's found in the Holy Bible!

Posted by: CP on October 20, 2010 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

Skip,

I appreciate the spirit of your comments. But you, like Day, are making broad sweeping generalizations about the negative impact of "organized religion" without any evidence. For instance you say "The overwhelming and negative purposes to which organized religion has been put far outweigh the benefits it bestowes on humankind." But where is your proof or analysis? It is simply a bigoted statement based on opinion rather than fact. And the distinction between anti-religion and anti-organized religion doesn't make any difference, it is still a gross generalization.

Posted by: Objective Dem on October 20, 2010 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

Objective Dem said:

"Perhaps you should talk to people who derive benefit from organized religion instead of spouting off about it being the "bane of humanity." This may include numerous people helped at a time of death or crisis. It includes people who seek connection with other people on focusing on making their lives better and more moral. It includes people who benefit from religious leadership during the civil rights movement. Etc. Etc."

"Yes, there are "bad" religious people and "bad" churches. But atheists like you who provide simple statements about religion being bad are not that different from the religious right who make simple statements about the nor-religious being bad."

I absolutely agree. I would also add that many religious groups also undertake charitable activities on a scale which is impossible for most private individuals acting alone. Of course, it's fully possible to have charitable organizations affiliated with no particular religious group.

Like all else in life, organized religion has both good and bad points. It would be lovely to somehow structure things, through law, or creative taxation, perhaps, to encourage the good things that religion does. But I don't know how you'd do that, and it would probably violate the 1st Amendment anyway.

Whatever. O'Donnell's ignorance is appalling. I wish there was some way to convince everyone that there really should be minimum standards of understanding that people who wish to hold public office should live up to.

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on October 20, 2010 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

One of the many ironies in this story is that Jefferson's famous letter, in which he coined the phrase "separation of church and state," was addressed to an association of Baptists.

At the time, the Baptists were a small group of dissidents who were being pushed around by the then-dominant Congregationalists. Jefferson was assuring them that the new U.S. Constitution would prevent the federal government from discriminating against them.

Now, of course, the Baptists are one of the largest and most powerful American denominations (and most influential with the government); and, because they are now in a position to push *others* around, Baptists are among those most eager to deny church-state separation.

Posted by: Nancy Irving on October 22, 2010 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

P.S. Conservatives' continuing war against the First Amendment convinces me that they don't actually fear Sharia law, notwithstanding their hysterics on the subject.

If they really feared Sharia law, they would be clinging to the separation of church and state, as it is our only protection from the imposition of religious law of any kind.

Posted by: Nancy Irving on October 22, 2010 at 2:22 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, I can't view your site properly within Opera, I actually hope you look into fixing this.

Posted by: aparadekto on October 25, 2010 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Wolfdaughter: The Baptists in New England in 1802 were considerably different from the huge Southern Baptist Convention now. Neither are all Baptists in the US today Southern Baptists.

Posted by: Pat Williams on October 26, 2010 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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