"Where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?" Ms. O'Donnell asked while Democrat Chris Coons, an attorney, sat a few feet away.
Mr. Coons responded that Ms. O'Donnell's question "reveals her fundamental misunderstanding of what our Constitution is. ... The First Amendment establishes a separation."
She interrupted to say, "The First Amendment does? ... So you're telling me that the separation of church and state, the phrase 'separation of church and state,' is in the First Amendment?"
Technically she is right, those words aren't there.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;......"
"Shall make no law" and "prohibiting the free exercise of" are the operative phrases here. They are not the least bit vague, they are very clear.
Many of the evangelical leaders (who get involved in politics) use this to lobby in certain moral issues that get brought up during the course of every election. This is their rationale for wanting to legislate morality. This is something that is never wise to do, unless it is an issue that directly and adversely affects another person. Our rights all end, where our neighbors' begins.
Don't misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with voting a person's conscience.... for it is our constitutional right to do so and it is an elected official's, as well. There is nothing wrong with a person's faith guiding their tough decisions as long as it does not impose upon, nor restrict the freedom of others. But if we are discussing this in a deeply analytical way, we must consider something else besides the Constitution when answering this moral dilemma.
When Christ's followers asked Him if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, He asked for a coin and inquired as to whose inscription was on the money. They told him it was Caesar and He proceeded to admonish them to give Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and God the things that are God's.
In my book, this speaks pretty plain as to what Christ thought of government. It was to be respected and the laws were to be obeyed (unless any of them restricted their rights to practice their faith), but both entities were to be attended to separately. If we truly heed the words of the Holy Bible, this story must not be overlooked or disregarded.
"Congress shall make no law" is a powerful directive that binds the arms of any government that would seek to impose its beliefs onto its citizenry. So if this really be the case, candidates should not promise to make such a law, nor should they promise to impose their personal beliefs on others. Once elected, they must obey the Constitution because it is their Christian duty to do so.
It is at this point in the campaign, whereby moral issues are not important to win independents. They are not looking for pastors, they are looking for leaders to manage the government properly. They want those leaders to create and support the freedom for them to practice whatever faith they choose. In the meantime, liberal interviewers and debate moderators are chomping at the bit to trip up strong candidates, because of social issues. Moral issues are the last ditch gasps they can muster and can be expected to be used even more so, as the election nears.
This is why I get so frustrated with some conservative candidates.
When asked questions that involve personal and deeply held beliefs that are not relevant to any constitutional or government discussion, it is better off to ignore those questions and focus on the issues that are going to sink us as a nation. Instead of being sucked into an irrelevant sidebar, they should be redirecting the conversation back to these things that are of the utmost importance.
How to stop the out of control:
2. accruing massive amounts of public debt
3. borrowing money to cover the losses
4. growing government
...and generally screwing up the natural order of things.
These are the things people need to hear, because government is wanting to restrict and tax even more than they already have to this point and they'll do it if we do not rein them in. What does the source of homosexuality have anything to do with anything? Is that going to get people back to work and off the public dole?
In the final two weeks, we need to stay on track and focus on the messages that got us to this point and on those principles that beget this movement. It's time to start the purge of dead weight in the legislature and can those who do not share those principles begin planning the next phase of the purge that will come in 2012.