Walker Goes Christine O'Donnell: Says "There is Not a Separation of Church and State" in the Constitution | Wis.Community

Walker Goes Christine O'Donnell: Says "There is Not a Separation of Church and State" in the Constitution

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In a recently discovered video of Walker on the far right-wing Christian television program "In Focus," which aired last April, Walker lectured:

"There is not a seperation of church and state-- there is only, in the constitution, an establishment clause that says that the state, the government, can't establish a state religion."

This is of course a common subterfuge by the religious right:  The First Ammendment of the Consitution should be narrowly interpreted as the goverment literally establishing a giant, monlithic state religion.

In reality, however, the founders intended what the courts have commonly called a "seperation of church and state."  Where did they come up with the phrase?  From Thomas Jefferson -- those influental founder when it came to writing the Constitution -- who wrote:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and 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 and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

Not only did Jefferson believe there should be "seperation of church and state" but that there should be a "a wall of seperation."

Of coure, Jefferson and the other founders intended that everyone-- including elected leaders-- should have freedom of religion and be able to say or do whatever religious thing they want-- as long as they don't push it onto others in their official capacity.

The distinction is when the elected leader prods the government into endorsing a particular relgion-- such as Walker using state tax dollars to finance religious schools through his voucher scheme. 

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Published

January 22, 2012 - 9:55am

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