Saturday, October 23, 2010
First Amendment Test
The ensuing controversy about Christine O'Donnell's statement on the first amendment has been fun to watch and listen to. First she is correct in her statement that there is a separation of church and state does not exist in the Constitution. The problem is that the way she stated it made her sound like a complete idiot. That being said the merits of such a separation can be debated. Rush Limbaugh rushed to her defense and stated as he always does that the statement on the separation of church and state appears in a letter that Thomas Jefferson wrote. So he discredits it because it is not policy. This coming from a man who freely quotes the Federalist Papers as if they are the defacto interpretation of the Constitution. Nothing could be further from the truth they are a series of essays (think of them as letters) that explain what one group thought of the Constitution. In fact had been up to these authors the Bill of Rights wouldn't exist. Jefferson and others had a slightly different idea of Constitution and its meaning. One of those differences is that not only should the country not establish a national religion, but there should be a complete separation. In fact early in the country's history churches were taxed. It is unfortunate that this counter argument to the Federalist's is being erased from our history. Think that I'm kidding look at Texas and their history standards. They don't even mention Thomas Paine or Jefferson, two of the leaders of the opposition to Madison and Hamilton.