Christine O'Donnell doesn't know what the First Amendment is - Page 7 - U2 Feedback

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Old 10-27-2010, 09:21 PM   #91
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I don't know diddly about O'Donnell, and this op-ed piece is a little too "tut-tut" for me (and it probably assumes O'Donnell is smarter than she may be), but I found its historical perspective fascinating.

Opinion: Christine O'Donnell Is Right About 1st Amendment

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When the First Amendment was drafted, Massachusetts and Connecticut both had established (Congregational) churches. These continued long after the Bill of Rights was adopted -- the Connecticut establishment lasting until 1818, that in Massachusetts until 1833. As the dates suggest, the existence of these churches was in no way affected by passage of the First Amendment.
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There arose concerns that the new federal government might try to impose a "national" religion, overriding the customs of the several states. It was in response to this that James Madison in the First Congress (June 1789) proposed what would become the First Amendment. This said, among other things, that no one's rights under the new government would be abridged for reasons of religion, "nor shall any national religion be established."

This wording would be refined in conference committee among members of the House and Senate, which included Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth, both from Connecticut, a state with an established church. This produced still more sweeping language, saying Congress shall make no law "respecting an establishment of religion," meaning Congress couldn't adopt any law whatever pertaining to the subject. It couldn't, that is, impose a national establishment, but it also couldn't interfere with the established churches in the states that had them.

So the "wall of separation" then erected wasn't between government and religion, but between the federal government and the states. This was the point Thomas Jefferson would make in 1802 in his letter to the Danbury Baptists, saying that via the First Amendment the American people had prevented "their legislature" -- Congress -- from interfering in matters of religion.
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Old 10-27-2010, 09:37 PM   #92
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I do like how every person under the sun can have an "opinion" about what is and is not legally accurate, as if it actually means anything at all. The article would be perfectly acceptable if America wasn't a common law country.
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:02 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by nathan1977 View Post
I don't know diddly about O'Donnell, and this op-ed piece is a little too "tut-tut" for me (and it probably assumes O'Donnell is smarter than she may be), but I found its historical perspective fascinating.

Opinion: Christine O'Donnell Is Right About 1st Amendment
I actually don't find O'Donnell's comments about the first amendment do be so "dumb." To me it was quite obvious that she was alluding to arguments like the one you linked to. I think the argument is beside the point, because whether the words "seperation of church and state" are found in the 1st amendment or not, the concept, essentially is--the established churches that once existed in some states not withstanding.

Getting far less press, but to me more disturbing was her misuse of OTHER amendments like the 14th amendment.
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:34 PM   #94
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But that's the point. She was trying to play semantics with one amendment when she doesn't even know what the other amendments are.
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Old 10-27-2010, 11:11 PM   #95
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This was the point Thomas Jefferson would make in 1802 in his letter to the Danbury Baptists, saying that via the First Amendment the American people had prevented "their legislature" -- Congress -- from interfering in matters of religion.
This is the problem with this definition. Nathan, isn't this the exact issue you were trying to argue against about the UK and Sharia law?
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Old 10-29-2010, 03:04 AM   #96
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This is the problem with this definition. Nathan, isn't this the exact issue you were trying to argue against about the UK and Sharia law?
Only if you assume I agree with the (apparent) original definition, which I don't. I'm in agreement with the interpretation as it currently stands -- just fascinated to see that it wasn't always thus.
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Old 10-29-2010, 08:20 AM   #97
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That's what I thought
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