O’Donnell camp offers $1000 bounty for anyone that can prove “Separation of Church and State” is in Constitution

In an attempt to hide the fact his candidate knows almost nothing of the founding document of her country, Jonathan Moseley, campaign manager to “witch-in-denial” Christine O’Donnell is offering a whooping 1000 bones to anyone who can prove the phrase “Separation of Church and State” is in the Constitution. It’s actually a pretty weak offer, since he’s technically correct in stating the specific phrase is in fact not in the document.

The phrase actually comes from one of the authors of the Constitution, a certain Thomas Jefferson. You might remember him as the guy who was expunged from Texas schoolbooks for not being Christ-friendly enough (I dub this the “Thomas Paine” treatment). The actual phrase originates from a letter Jefferson wrote to a group of Baptists nervous about government encroaching on their religious rights:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, 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 prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.

If folks like O’Donnell and Mosely actually bothered to think about the intended purpose of this separation, they might not be as opposed to it. If the wall came down and the government officially recognized Islam as the official religion, how would Christians react? It seems as though these morons have forgotten the biggest supporters of this separation were religionists themselves who wanted the free exercise of their religion without any government interference.

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Comments (11)

  • avatar

    Bob

    Jefferson was not an author of the constitution. He was in France when it was being written.

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    ^Well technically the constitution was based on the one he had written as the state constitution. Will anyone know the difference in a few years, lol.

  • avatar

    J.N. Hudson

    Regardless of who wrote what, the founding fathers where by and large in agreement on the subject of Church/State seperation. Mainly because at the time the constitution was written and ratified the varied denomination of christianity where still at each others throats over petty doctrinal differences, an incontravertable FACT to which modern church/state deniers are largely ignorant of. They simply do not know their own history.

    What people like Christine O’Donnell, Sharon Angle, Ken Buck, and their ilk do not seem to understand is that seperation of church and state is a requirement of the first ammendment. They interpret it to mean that the government can’t impose it’s will to the church but the church is free to impose it’s will on the government. The essential flaw in that reasoning is that you CANNOT have the later without also having the former. To allow any church to impose it’s values and prejudices on the government is to establish a state sponsored and imposed religion. Another major flaw in their reasoning is that there is no single set of doctrines supported by all the churches.

    Christianity doesn’t have 1 flavour, it has 10,000 and 1, none of which are in total agreement ith the others. The flavour of christianity imposing it’s will on the government will inevitably wish to impose doctrines that one or more major denominations will find unpalatable or unacceptable. It’s a recipe for civil war, the founders knew this, the Wars of Religion that tore apart Europe were still recent history when the constitution was drafted, the purpose of the 1st Ammendment’s Establishment Clause and the reason behind the creation of a wholly secular state was specifically to avoid this problem and the divisevness that comes with it.

    Back to O’Donnell’s facitious offer. While the exact phrase “Separation of Church and State” may not appear anywhere in the constitution the principle of it exists nonetheless. Further more, the Separation of Church and State is established law, a fact confirmed over and over again by SCotUS, the branch of the government charged with interpreting the constitution. You won’t find the words “”right to privacy” in the constitution, but you wll find the priciple that mandates it.

  • avatar

    MensBattlePlan

    “They interpret it to mean that the government can’t impose it’s will to the church but the church is free to impose it’s will on the government.” -J.N. Hudson

    How does the church currently impose it’s will on the government?

    I agree that we shouldn’t have the ten commandments in a court room. I don’t think there should be prayer at public school sporting events. I don’t think churches should have the right to politick from pulpit as the law states currently.

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    ^ The Mormon and Catholic church used money to influence the passing of Prop 8, as just a recent example. Remember that these institutions benefit from tax exemption as part of the deal that they won’t get involved in politics. What about all the churches that pressured their flock to vote for George Bush? The list goes on and on dude.

  • avatar

    MensBattlePlan

    But how did the mormon and catholic church do this? Did the pastor or priest get up on the pulpit and say to everyone to give money to support Prop 8? no. and if they did, then they broke the law and I’m sure the IRS and the federal government will prosecute them.

    What actually happens is that people think for themselves. We get together and talk just like you guys do and we come to our own conclusions about what we would like to happen in government.

    Religious people are part of this country and we will, as individuals, influence the government.

    What churches pressured their flock to vote for George Bush? What examples do you have that this happened? I know of no church in Atlanta that I have been too or any of my friends attend where this happened. I’m sure it does happen but you are fooling yourself if you think the reason we come to same conclusion about who to vote for is because someone at the church tells us who to vote for.

    Do atheist have a governing body telling them how to vote? no. You have websites, blogs, emails, conversations with friends and family and your own minds to spread the word about create thoughts and ideas.

  • avatar

    Jacob Fortin

    ^ Actually dude, they did. Watch “The Mormon Proposition”. They literally showed up to people’s door and demanded, based on tithing records, that parishioners give them money. Churches break these kings of laws all the time and have not been prosecuted, nor have they lost their tax exempt status.

    As for examples for churches using their power to influence voting, here are a few examples:
    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2008/11/29/56697/another-catholic-pastor-labels.html

    http://www.topix.com/forum/religion/catholic/TATCUHIUJ2E5HIAGJ

    Wake the fuck up, dude.

  • avatar

    MensBattlePlan

    I’m awake…I’m awake.

    Hopefully the IRS will look into this and audit the catholic church and the mormon church. How do they get away with this?

    I just haven’t seen it in the churches here in Atlanta. I listen to 20 different sermons online in a given month from many different churches, I go to all sorts of meetings and parachurch events and no one from the leadership ever talks about politics and certainly doesn’t endorse a candidate.

    I think what you are seeing is a bunch of Christians that get together and form a political group to endorse a religion that doesn’t receive tax exempt status. Certainly I can get a bunch of people from my church to join a group called “Men’sBattlePlan for Obama” and raise money to endorse him in 2012. Even if every member in my group went to my church this would be legal to do.

    Focus on the Family is a perfect example of this. They are a religious organization that has a separate branch of their organization that focuses on political action. They are allowed to do this. Here’s an article about how James Dobson seperates their religious talks from his polical talks: http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_6856730

    Do you think Focus on the Family should be allowed to do this?

  • avatar

    J.N. Hudson

    @MensBattlePlan
    “How does the church currently impose it’s will on the government?”

    I wasn’t attempting to point to any specific church or any specific imposition by a church on the government. I was pointing out an inaccurate, and frankly immpossible to implement, interpretation of the Establishment Clause held by many church/state separation deniers. I could have been more clearer in my post, when I say “the church” I’m not referring to any one church and/or denomination.

    As far as religion imposing itself on government institutions, you pointed out several examples in your first post. When a religion or religious organization seeks to recieve preferential treatment because it is religious, or when the aforementioned seek to have portions of it’s doctrines, dogma, or religious laws made into civil law enforced by the government simply because it is part of it’s religious doctrine is an attempt to impose an explicitly religious policy on the government, and by extension the whole of the american people, many of whom do not share those views.

    Including, but by no means limited too….

    -Laws against gay rights/same-sex marriage.
    -The teaching of explicitly christian creationism in taxpayer funded public schools.
    -The filibuster of a recent law that would remove the Statute of limitations on child molestation because it might harm the catholic church.
    -The “Freedom Sunday” event where priests, pastors, etc. are encouraged to use their pulpit to poitick and endorse individual candidates, in violation of their 501.3(c) tax exempt status.
    -Bishops and other officials of the catholic church threatening to deny politicians or candidates communion unless they vote a certain way or make certain campaign promises.
    -The long running practice of certain churches or eucmenical organizations requiring a “back-room” promise of appointing people with a certain type of view on laws those churches/organizations oppose to the Supreme Court in return for granting their endorsement.

  • avatar

    Men'sBattlePlan

    “…when the aforementioned seek to have portions of it’s doctrines, dogma, or religious laws made into civil law enforced by the government simply because it is part of it’s religious doctrine is an attempt to impose an explicitly religious policy on the government, and by extension the whole of the american people, many of whom do not share those views.”-J.N. Hudson

    My point is that most of the time these “impositions” are from individuals and not churches. Sure, there are churches that are breaking the law and the IRS should go after them but 99.9999% of the time a voter goes into the ballot box and votes the way he/she wants to. How will anyone know otherwise?

    According to your definition I will comment about the examples you gave:

    “Laws against gay rights/same-sex marriage.”
    True. I agree that if it wasn’t for religion our gay friends would have more rights and I’m sure there would not be as much push back against same-sex marriage. But this is still the will of the people who are religious and in my opinion has nothing to do with the Separation of church and state. As long as there is religion you will always have this problem because individuals are the ones who vote.

    “The teaching of explicitly christian creationism in taxpayer funded public schools.”
    I agree that creationism should not be taught in public schools.

    “The filibuster of a recent law that would remove the Statute of limitations on child molestation because it might harm the catholic church.”
    Are you talking about the bill that would increase the time that an abuse victim could sue the catholic church? The Child Victims Act of New York — also known as the Markey bill — also would lengthen the period in which alleged victims may sue individuals and private organizations for child sexual abuse in the future.
    This bill would waive the civil statute for a one-year period, would permit the filing of previously time-barred lawsuits against individuals or private organizations in cases of child sexual abuse alleged to have taken place 30, 40 or more years ago.

    “The “Freedom Sunday” event where priests, pastors, etc. are encouraged to use their pulpit to poitick and endorse individual candidates, in violation of their 501.3(c) tax exempt status.”
    I don’t think pastors should be doing this.

    “Bishops and other officials of the catholic church threatening to deny politicians or candidates communion unless they vote a certain way or make certain campaign promises.”
    Churches have “church discipline” and if a person is not behaving the way the bible says then they get disciplined. If that person doesn’t like the discipline then they can either change their ways or go to another church. It’s pretty simple. How does this violate any Church / State separation? If a politician keeps voting to allow abortions then this is interpreted as a sin. This isn’t manipulation on the part of the church. This is the church saying that they believe he/she is in sin and they are enforcing church discipline.

    “The long running practice of certain churches or eucmenical organizations requiring a “back-room” promise of appointing people with a certain type of view on laws those churches/organizations oppose to the Supreme Court in return for granting their endorsement”
    How would a church endorse a person if they are not allowed to preach from the pulpit or endorse a person? They will lose their taxemempt status if they do. I don’t disagree with you on this. I think we need to start asking questions to the IRS as well.

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