In their debate the other night Christine O’Donnell, the Tea Party GOP Delaware Senate nominee tangled in debate with the Dem Senate nominee, the state attorney general, Chris Coons. The question came up about the concept of separation of church and state. O’Donnell asked where church-state separation is spelled out in the Constitution. Coons said from the 1st amendment. Elitist liberals like The Daily Kos and the Yahoo news service thought it outrageous that O’Donnell didn’t know this…evidence of her stupidity and ignorance where she was allegedly set straight by a Yale lawyer.
But the Yale lawyer was wrong. There is nothing in the 1st amendment that prescribes separation of Church and state. The “establishment of religion” clause was not enacted to secularize government and keep it pristine from religion, it was written to ban adoption of an official state religion as it was then and is now in Britain. It was not even enacted to ban official religion in the states but was regarded as pertaining to the new federal government only. Indeed when the amendment was adopted, six of the original 13 states had established religions which the amendment was specifically not designed to override.
Madison believed that with respect to the federal government and religion that far from banning it, there should be a welcome plurality of religious practice not the requirement that one religion and one religion only should be installed as an official religion. In fact the popularly cited “wall of separation” phrase came from not from the body of the Constitution or from amendment language but from a private letter written by Jefferson in 1802 to the Danbury Baptist Association. Jefferson himself welcomed church worship involving various sects to be held in the U.S. Capitol during his administration since the village of Washington, D.C., erected on a former swamp had few churches.
Popular liberal mythology has held that conservatives are dumb and liberals are the smarter, more educated class….witness jokes that Eisenhower was dumb, JFK smart, LBJ smart, Nixon dumb (and evil), Ford dumb because he supposedly played football without a helmet, Carter very smart, Reagan a dumb ex-actor, Bush I unacquainted with ideas, Clinton very smart, Bush II (who had a Harvard MBA) was dumb and unacquainted with books. Obama smart etc. So in their confrontation liberals and liberal mainstream media project that O’Donnell is dumb because she has traditional religious values and no college degree while Coons is brilliant because he has a Yale law degree.
But the fact is that in this imbroglio Coons was the dumb one….citing the 1st amendment as purportedly dictating separation of Church and State and O’Donnell the bright one asking where in the Constitution this provision is stated, Coons replying smugly: “The 1st amendment.”
And the liberals in the audience tittered: She is so dumb. But they and Coons are the dumb ones. A clue: The reasoning behind the Establishment Clause is presented fairly by…of all things….PBS in its “God in America” three-part series. Using original documents including Jefferson’s correspondence it shows how we have come to misunderstand the framers’ reason for writing the Establishment of Religion clause. The PBS series is still far from perfect [see below] but this part is sufficient to give Yalie Coons a refresher course on Constitutional law, proving that O’Donnell is right.
Los Angeles Public TV Station Sheds PBS.
When the manager of Los Angeles public TV station KCFT-TV looked at the stiff fee he would have to pay out to continue PBS service…20% of his operating budget or $6.1 million…he decided to give up PBS. In return he got a lot of hate mail and vows not to support his station from people who love “Jim Lair-rah”, 76m of the PBS NewsHour…Judy Woodruff, 62, its perpetually worried-looking reporter concerned (along with hubby Al Hunt of Bloomberg News) that the country is going—gasp!--rightwing…and Gwen Ifill, 55, who was picked to moderate the Obama-McCain debate notwithstanding that she had a laudatory book on Obama coming out on Inauguration Day and Ray Suarez, 55, the former NPR veteran and former host of the lefty “Talk of the Nation.” The question: how will the station fare without its progressive staples?
Who knows? Perhaps better! Instead of running the old port-side reliables if the station is smart, it’ll develop some new faces and a centrist content. PBS by and large is assembly-line slugged by the same old liberal mind-set. It has just unveiled a 3-part, 6-hour series “God in America” which is accurate on the 1st amendment’s Establishment Clause [see above] it otherwise does a lefty disservice to religion. It gives far more weight to fringe elements and skips wholesale contributions made by Judaism and Catholicism.
The Pilgrim are treated as incorrigible blue-noses, prejudicial, sanctimonious and uncaring. Later 19th century Christian heretic Charles Briggs who argued against the inerrancy of the Bible is treated as a great hero. It would be understandable if religiously illiterate viewers would assume Briggs’ views are the same as all Protestants. There is utterly no mention of the pioneering role of the Catholic church in dispensing charity in the 18th, 19th and early part of the 20th centuries when alms-giving was all privately collected (no government subsidies) and high quality education was dispensed in parochial schools.
Who knows? Maybe Los Angeles public TV made a wise choice in scrubbing PBS if by doing so it presents independent programs with a plurality of ideas instead of the same-old-same-old liberal ones.