Friday, November 16, 2007

Moronity on the Radio Factor

Today I randomly flipped to the Radio Factor to here Bill O'Reilly's guest host discussing intelligent design and asserting that church/state separation can't be found in the Constitution.

Yes, the phrase church/state separation isn't in the Constitution but the principle is.

Really, I'm at the point where I feel that either you can read the 1st amendment and see how it entails the separation of church from state and vice versa or you need to enter into a remedial reading course.

The guest host was saying that all it says is that you can't establish a national church. Really? Under the first amendment Congress could pass a law saying that you have to be a Southern Baptist to get a driver's license? I mean, the amendment doesn't read "Congress shall make no law stating that only Southern Baptists may obtain a driver's license" so obviously the Constitution doesn't prohibit it.


History Matters said...

A phrase like "separation of church and state" not being in the Constitution does not mean that the concept is not there, nor does it mean that it is there. It is a metaphor that President Jefferson used in a letter. So how did he understand the First Amendment?

In his eyes the Constitution apparently allowed things that would raise eyebrows (at the very least) today. When he was president of the Washington, D.C. schools, he specified that the only source of reading tutorial would be the Holy Bible and the Watts Hymnal. Jefferson was the founder of the University of Virginia. From its inception in 1819, the school was governed, managed, and controlled by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Consider:

- In order to accommodate and perpetuate the religious beliefs and practices of students at the university, he recommended that students be allowed to meet on the campus to pray, worship, and receive religious instruction, or, if necessary, to meet and pray with their professors.

- He provided in his regulations for the University of Virginia that the main rotunda be used for religious worship under the regulations allowed to be prescribed by law.

- He proposed that all University of Virginia students be required to study as a matter of ethics "the proofs of the being of a God, the creator, preserver, and supreme ruler of the universe, the author of all relations within morality, and of the laws and obligations these infer."

Hume's Ghost said...

The University of Virginia was the first secular university established in America, and here's the fuller quote:

"In conformity with the principles of our Constitution, which places all sects of religion on an equal footing, with the jealousies of the different sects in guarding that equality from encroachment and surprise, and with the sentiments of the legislature in favor of freedom of religion, manifested on former occasions, we have proposed no professor of divinity; and the rather as the proofs of the being of a God, the creator, preserver, and supreme ruler of the universe, the author of all the relations of morality, and of the laws and obligations these infer, will be within the province of the professor of ethics"