Video: O’Donnell vs. Coons on the separation of church and state

posted at 4:21 pm on October 19, 2010 by Allahpundit

512 comments and counting in the Headlines thread. I guess you guys want to talk about this, huh?

She first mentions church and state at around 2:50 of the clip but the key exchange starts at around 5:30. When I first read the AP story on this, I had the same reaction as Ramesh Ponnuru and Ace — namely, that she was only pointing out that the phrase “separation of church and state” appears nowhere in the Constitution. And in fact, that’s how her campaign played it afterwards:

“In this morning’s WDEL debate, Christine O’Donnell was not questioning the concept of separation of church and state as subsequently established by the courts,” said campaign manager Matt Moran. “She simply made the point that the phrase appears nowhere in the Constitution.”

As you’ll see, even Coons acknowledges in his answer that separation is a concept developed by courts as part of its Establishment Clause jurisprudence, not something that appears in the constitutional text. (See also “right of privacy.”) The thing is, the exchange didn’t end there:

On the issue of whether creationism should be taught in public schools, a highly skeptical O’Donnell questioned Coon’s assertion that the First Amendment calls for the separation of church and state.

“The First Amendment does?” O’Donnell asked during the Tuesday morning debate. “Let me just clarify: You’re telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?”

Coons responded by quoting the relevant text: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

“That’s in the First Amendment?” a still skeptical O’Donnell replied smiling, as laughter could be heard from the crowd.

That part comes at around 7:10. He recites, or rather closely paraphrases, the Establishment Clause — not the doctrine of separation of church and state — and she seems surprised at his assertion that that appears in the First Amendment. Says Peter Wehner at Commentary, “Asking candidates for the United States Senate to be familiar with one of the magnificent achievements of the American founding doesn’t strike me as an overly burdensome requirement.” Yeah, especially since the crux of her “I’m you” messaging is to get people to identify with her. An undecided voter who sees this and thinks “I know the Establishment Clause but she doesn’t?” may well conclude that “she’s not me” and opt for condescending Harry Reid pet Chris Coons instead. And of course, since her only shot at the upset is an overwhelming turnout advantage among Republicans, anything she says or does to wake up the liberal base in Delaware makes things that much tougher for her. Which, of course, is why this incident is getting saturation coverage right now: “Theocracy” hysteria is a great way to get progressives down to the polls. As Ace says, no matter what you think about separation of church and state, if a candidate’s going to play with this particular book of political matches, you have to be a lot more careful than this.

Sad to say, this wasn’t the only constitutional flub at the debate. As the boss emeritus notes, alleged genius Coons couldn’t remember all five freedoms protected by the First Amendment and O’Donnell couldn’t remember what’s in the Fourteenth and Sixteenth Amendments. (That comes at around 3:30 of the clip.) The one thing they did agree on, though: Rent is too damn high.


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You are confusing enumerated powers and the Bill of Rights….

swamp_yankee on October 20, 2010 at 1:58 AM

I understand both.

I just don’t agree with you that Amendments that start out “Congress shall…” don’t have to do with the Congress. I think it’s pretty clear that it does. It further lays out the rights of the people and the boundaries of the government.

powerpro on October 20, 2010 at 5:36 AM

So it’s okay if they teach that Allah is the true God and Muhammed is His prophet?

skylark on October 20, 2010 at 3:49 AM

Whaddya mean? They already do. Remember, it’s only Christianity and Judaism that must be stricken from the public square. Everything else is cool.

Islamists are rewriting our textbooks … inserting some fantastic Muslim history and denigrating and diminishing Christianity. Of course leftists are happy with this because they want the same thing.

“or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” has a footnote that says “Does not apply to Christians or Jews”.

darwin on October 20, 2010 at 8:05 AM

No time to read through all the comments, but where oh where is all the media coverage of Alvin Greene? Still waiting for that Saturday Night Live skit. (Maybe they’ll do a O’Donnell/Greene debate skit this weekend.

Marty on October 20, 2010 at 8:54 AM

GatewayPundit has a story stating that three lawsuits had been filed against Coons for firing people for their political views. The last one was in 2007. I can’t find the outcome of the suits but it’s interesting. One guy was a 35 year employee.

http://gatewaypundit.firstthings.com/2010/10/chris-coons-sued-3-times-in-2007-for-retaliating-against-public-employees-for-their-political-views/

Cindy Munford on October 20, 2010 at 9:20 AM

The First Amendment was about the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT period. It’s soul intent was to protect the above listed status quo. It was to be left up to the states to work out “religious freedom” for themselves. And it would not have been an exaggeration to have called it “Protestant Sharia”.
Facts can be soo pesky!

Pole-Cat on October 20, 2010 at 2:17 AM

The First Amendment applies to the states. Few elected politicians or judges would argue that.

COD is irresponsible to think that local school boards should be immune to First Amendment protections. Her performance won’t gain her a senate seat, though she’s achieved the more valuable goal of fame.

dedalus on October 20, 2010 at 9:41 AM

You have to be specific with liberals and liars.

abcurtis on October 20, 2010 at 9:51 AM

COD is irresponsible to think that local school boards should be immune to First Amendment protections.

dedalus on October 20, 2010 at 9:41 AM

When does the “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” part come in?

darwin on October 20, 2010 at 9:56 AM

Oh good lord. You’re in this crowd too Esthier? Disappointing.

crr6 on October 19, 2010 at 6:56 PM

What, because you have so much respect for me?

I’m not sure which crowd you’re referring to, but I do not understand why an accomplished Ivy League grad would not release these documents considering Kerry did so with significantly less accomplishments. I’m not saying he has some big dark secret, but he must have a reason for what he’s doing, as most would see releasing that information as a plus.

I feel the same way about his birth certificate. I don’t believe he has to release it, and I don’t believe he was born anywhere but Hawaii. But unless the only reason he’s left it in Hawaii is to bait conservatives, he’s likely got something he doesn’t want anyone to see.

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 10:32 AM

When does the “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” part come in?

darwin on October 20, 2010 at 9:56 AM

Free exercise applies to people worshiping independent of government. With public schools taxpayers are forced to fund and children compelled to attend. Those resources can’t be appropriated by individual religions.

dedalus on October 20, 2010 at 10:33 AM

Fancy a return to Prohibition, party man?

Jenfidel on October 19, 2010 at 6:58 PM

Of course you realize he’s in China and that Prohibition was not in the 1789 Constitution.

And the female vote could be?
Misogynist much?

Jenfidel on October 19, 2010 at 7:33 PM

Statistically, women vote Democrat. So, yes, it could be.

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 10:55 AM

I can’t watch the video, but I heard a sound clip of the exchange this morning on the radio. Coons comes across as smarmy in his smug little rant about how that was an excellent question because it highlight’s O’Donnell’s fundamental ignorance of the ammendment process.

For starters, that’s a very disingenuous statement. If the question really did show a funadmental ignorance, then it’s not an excellent question. Opportune (for Coons), maybe, but it’s smugly insincere to call such a question a good question.

This reveals that his whole premise was flawed, though. Even if the question was somehow built on some sort of incorrect assumption, then it might reveal a certain ignorance regarding the first ammendment and/or historical facts surrounding the Constitution, but that question alone did not reavel any level of funamental understanding of the ammendment process or lack thereof. That was a categorially unsound conclusion to draw.

Then because of all this, his smugness was an abusive ad hominem, becuase it attacked COD’s understanding of the process rather than just arguing the point…

…Which he actually addresses. He never actually answers her question, which she re-asked with qualification (although, to be fair,he was talking over her about “Roe Vs. Wade” at the time): Where does the phrase “separation of Church and State” appear in the Constitution?

The question itself has a potental to be a bit pedantic, but it’s not a bad idea to question the basis of the euphamism which has the potential to lead to innacurate connotations. It’s no nec. bad to refer to the establishment clause as “separation of Church and State,” but O’Donnell makes a good point that we should be careful of being lulled into a state of inartful complacency by just assuming that phrase (and the many connotations that people may draw from it) accurately reflects the language.

All in all, I think an honest listening/viewing of this exchange shows O’Donnell as being able to hold her own (though maybe being a bit nit-picky), and Coons as being a bit of a condescending weasel.

BlueCollarAstronaut on October 20, 2010 at 11:05 AM

I think their success can be entirely attributed to their superior intellect and frontier spirit. Faith in god at that time in history was only extraordinary in its ubiquity.

But it wasn’t just a generic faith in a god. You diminish it to that because of your own opinion on the subject. The earliest settlers were attempting to find a place where religious persecution was a thing of the past, because of their adherence to Christianity. That’s in large part what is extraordinary about this country and the faith of the Founders. Religious freedom wasn’t exactly a priority for other countries.

I agree they’d be disgusted in the quality of leadership that has replaced them. They were disgusted with each other often enough. Years of relative comfort have left the leadership potential in our country untapped. Who would go into a dismal life of politics when their talent could be spent more productively in the private sector? I’m confident that the longer our current woes continue, the more able people — that the founders could at least tolerate — will meet the challenge. If that’s not true, and if it will ever not be true, then self-governance is futile.

RightOFLeft on October 19, 2010 at 7:15 PM

It obviously will not ever not be true (couldn’t think of a better way to phrase it), simply because it already was once, and we’re not a different species from those who came before us. We are in more comfortable times, and I agree that in that, we have drastically changed priorities. I’m not even confident that these times are as trying as to bring about the kind of leaders you’re imagining. Most people are still relatively comfortable. 10% unemployment is still high, not some new norm. In fact, I believe Texas never even got up to double digits.

That doesn’t mean we won’t get the leaders we need, but I imagine it will take a bit longer or something more drastic (I thought it would be 9/11). Citizens need to understand the true purpose of government, rather than what they want government to do for them personally. Until then, it won’t matter how many great leaders we have in this country. They won’t be listened to.

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 11:10 AM

Free exercise applies to people worshiping independent of government. With public schools taxpayers are forced to fund and children compelled to attend. Those resources can’t be appropriated by individual religions.

dedalus on October 20, 2010 at 10:33 AM

Of course. But it’s been carried to the extreme. Many schools have striken Christmas from their calendars and replaced it with “Winter Holiday”. Dare a teacher mention God, just mention God … and an army of secular zealots streams out of the woodwork like termites to assault the heinous offender.

That’s ridiculous and a denial of an individuals 1st Amendment right.

darwin on October 20, 2010 at 11:12 AM

When does the “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” part come in?

darwin on October 20, 2010 at 9:56 AM

Schools act as the government, so their free exercise as an entity is not protected by the Constitution. It’s as individuals, students and teachers, that they are protected.

That said, I don’t see any reason why our students should be ignorant of what religions teach. Educating them on that through a history class should be allowed. No one bats an eye when students are forced to read Homer. Why should it be any different if they read a Psalm or any other religious text.

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 11:15 AM

And as to the “constitutional right” to teach creationism, the Supreme Court actually struck down a state law requiring the inclusion of “creation science” in school curricula, as violative of the Establishment Clause.

skylark on October 19, 2010 at 9:16 PM

Only because it was religiously motivated in that case. Plus Scalia and Rehnquist dissented, saying that the legislature/school board said they weren’t religiously motivated and that should be good enough for the courts, and they have a lot more help on the Court now. Since Dover wasn’t appealed we don’t actually know if ID can be discussed in classes alongside evolution.

alwaysfiredup on October 20, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Has anyone read Ann Althouse on this Coons screw up? After reading through the commentary here, I’m amazed how people are dumping on COD. She’s not a lawyer; Coons is, and he got the Constitution wrong. The law students who laughed got the Constitution wrong. Yet, a lot of people here are dumping on COD. Why?

SilentWatcher on October 20, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Lemme start out with – I am an atheist.

Next. Evolution is a theory, it is incomplete, it is also wrong about many assumptions it makes. It is ridiculous to assert that the theory of evolution is fact.

Remember, Newton’s theories were also incomplete and wrong in many assumptions. Einstein’s theories are likewise incomplete and wrong in some of it’s assumptions (by Einstein’s own admission).

Theories exist to explain systems and provide answers to questions that allow the researcher to move forward. That is it. As research moves forward, the incomplete areas will either be filled or lead to a new theory, the incorrect assumptions will be supplanted by new, better fitting assumptions to create a new theory and hopefully some laws and facts along the way.

The way evolution is taught in school today is criminal. In the fervent desire to discredit religion, the educational establishment has swung too far into the ToE camp and has even gone to the extreme of suppressing any data or work that deviates from the ToE norm.

Darwin will go the way of Newton one day. His theory will be replaced with on that incorporates more data and has more detailed and verifiable conclusions. The Theory of X will replace the ToE eventually, it’s a certainty.

IF the ToE is correct, on this planet we have at least three separate “origins” for life on this planet, possibly many more. Each of the three life systems are COMPLETELY different from one another and wholly incompatible and even downright toxic to one another. Yet all exist within the same system (widely separated by time or distance) and are evolving to different ends. Had Darwin known this, his theory would have been much different.

While I don’t subscribe to creationism, or intelligent design as it’s widely promulgated, I know for a fact that evolution is incomplete and in large parts incorrect. For this reason and this reason alone, I support the teaching of ANY competing theory regardless of it’s orgin or content alongside ToE.

The important part is to teach people/children to think critically and examine the evidence and outcomes of theories. For 99.99% of people on the Earth, the ToE is a sufficient explanation of what has happened, but for the other 1% who have to work in the field, the question MUST remain open because we/they know that the Theory of Evolution is incomplete and flawed in many areas.

If we convert the Theory of Evolution into fact in contradiction of the evidence, we doom future scientists to failure and will essentially put “on pause” our study of life and it’s orgins.

It’s dangerous for those in authority to convert theory into fact and should be avoided at all cost.

Most of the science you know today, is simply wrong.

That’s the great thing about science. It’s a never ending process of discovery. Anyone providing “big facts” about systems is largely an ignoramous, or doing so solely for political or financial ends.

Neither of those ends belong in education.

Jason Coleman on October 20, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Schools act as the government, so their free exercise as an entity is not protected by the Constitution. It’s as individuals, students and teachers, that they are protected.

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 11:15 AM

We should do away with the public school system entirely. Localities or states can privatize their entire systems and run them cheaper, more efficient and secure better results. Plus, they wouldn’t have to worry about representing the government.

darwin on October 20, 2010 at 11:39 AM

So it’s okay if they teach that Allah is the true God and Muhammed is His prophet?

skylark on October 20, 2010 at 3:49 AM

That is an establishment. So, no, if it is compulsory.

BUT>>>

I have the point of view that as long as the compulsory state education requirements are met, the local school boards compulsory education requirements are met, and that those specific requirements make no establishment of religion, then any other teachings at the school are extra curricular and voluntary. Likewise, the school should not be allowed to prohibit any other voluntary extra curricular activity that contradicts those teachings. In other words, the state should not require them, nor should they prohibit them.

We should be concerned when an establishment of religion in compulsory state education requirements is the letter of the law, but to make the leap into banning discussion of ideas presented by religion is a hysterical narrow mindedness on a par with book burning.

Regardless of the above, if a local school wishes to teach that creation is a possible explanation for our existence, this is not doctrine. It is a serious discussion of ideas, not an establishment.

Calling in the attorney general of the United States into localville to prevent this is reprehensible and unconstitutional IMHO.

Saltysam on October 20, 2010 at 11:50 AM

We should do away with the public school system entirely. Localities or states can privatize their entire systems and run them cheaper, more efficient and secure better results. Plus, they wouldn’t have to worry about representing the government.

darwin on October 20, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Completely agree.

I believe the only reason people should bother coming together and forming a government is for security (both in and outside the country). Everything else should be viewed suspiciously.

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 12:01 PM

We should do away with the public school system entirely. Localities or states can privatize their entire systems and run them cheaper, more efficient and secure better results. Plus, they wouldn’t have to worry about representing the government.

darwin on October 20, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Completely agree.

I believe the only reason people should bother coming together and forming a government is for security (both in and outside the country). Everything else should be viewed suspiciously.

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Can I stick my nose in here?

I hope that what you mean is, we should do away with any federal mandates to provide for public education, and leave it to the states and localities to determine a necessity to provide a public education funded with their own resources.

Saltysam on October 20, 2010 at 12:11 PM

I hope that what you mean is, we should do away with any federal mandates to provide for public education, and leave it to the states and localities to determine a necessity to provide a public education funded with their own resources.

Saltysam on October 20, 2010 at 12:11 PM

I actually meant privatize … but I’ll take removing any federal involvement and leaving responsibility to states.

darwin on October 20, 2010 at 12:14 PM

I actually meant privatize … but I’ll take removing any federal involvement and leaving responsibility to states.

darwin on October 20, 2010 at 12:14 PM

Agree with both you and Saltysam.

dedalus on October 20, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Most of the science you know today, is simply wrong.

That’s the great thing about science. It’s a never ending process of discovery. Anyone providing “big facts” about systems is largely an ignoramous, or doing so solely for political or financial ends.

Neither of those ends belong in education.

Jason Coleman on October 20, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Sure, but it was a good thing to teach Newton for centuries before Einstein tweaked his results. Substituting ancient narratives for Newtonian mechanics would have resulted in a weaker education product.

dedalus on October 20, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Of course. But it’s been carried to the extreme. Many schools have striken Christmas from their calendars and replaced it with “Winter Holiday”. Dare a teacher mention God, just mention God … and an army of secular zealots streams out of the woodwork like termites to assault the heinous offender.

That’s ridiculous and a denial of an individuals 1st Amendment right.

darwin on October 20, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Students have a right to promote a specific god. Teachers can’t use their salaries and perceived state endorsement to promote their religious view.

It seems like Christmas is OK with the courts if it is part of a cultural (not religious) celebration.

dedalus on October 20, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Agree with both you and Saltysam.

dedalus on October 20, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Is that a first? ;)

I think this is significant. COD is actually debating, admittedly unpolished, on that line that bonds libertarians and conservatives into a common mold.

She argues for us.

Coons is against us.

I hope Delaware agrees.

Saltysam on October 20, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Teachers can’t use their salaries and perceived state endorsement to promote their religious view.

dedalus on October 20, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Well, then, I had better not catch any of them teaching kids that killing non believers is wrong, just that it is against the law.

Saltysam on October 20, 2010 at 1:03 PM

Sure, but it was a good thing to teach Newton for centuries before Einstein tweaked his results. Substituting ancient narratives for Newtonian mechanics would have resulted in a weaker education product.

I believe I addressed that:

Theories exist to explain systems and provide answers to questions that allow the researcher to move forward. That is it. As research moves forward, the incomplete areas will either be filled or lead to a new theory, the incorrect assumptions will be supplanted by new, better fitting assumptions to create a new theory and hopefully some laws and facts along the way.

Never do I suggest substituting ancient narratives for more modern ones. It’s the reliance on the modern theory as the end all be all fact, when it is not; that is the problem.

We do recognize and respect the role of Newton and his importance in describing systems in purely Newtonian (middle scale) terms, as well as the modern application of Newtonian physics. The creation stories gave an acceptable (at the time) explanation of much that was and is unexplainable for some to move on with more pressing or important subjects (like finding food, clothing and shelter). The creation mythos of all cultures and religion should be taught within their historical and factual boundaries. Just as Newton is taught within his historical and factual boundaries.

Let’s also make it perfectly clear to students that Darwin’s theory is grossly incomplete and has many factual errors. To deny these issues undermines EVERYTHING.

To shut out previous theories and deny them the light of day regardless of their state is quite simply dangerous and does a disservice to the current and future students/public/science.

Present the information accurately for what it is and you’ll never have a problem, when you start trying to force all thought into one direction, problems will abound.

Jason Coleman on October 20, 2010 at 1:07 PM

It seems like Christmas is OK with the courts if it is part of a cultural (not religious) celebration.

dedalus on October 20, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Screw the courts. It’s a damn federal holiday. You can’t have a 1st Amemdment then tell people it doesn’t apply to them. This current interpretation of the 1st Amendment is a perversion and fairly recent. If that’s how the founders intended it to be used, then why didn’t they apply it as we do today? They wrote it, I would think they know what they meant when they did.

darwin on October 20, 2010 at 1:09 PM

I do not understand why an accomplished Ivy League grad would not release these documents considering Kerry did so with significantly less accomplishments.

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 10:32 AM

Actually, Kerry did not release his college records. They happened to be attached to the military records he released to three news organizations after the election.

Once again, no presidential candidate has ever purposely released his college transcripts.

skylark on October 20, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Saltysam on October 20, 2010 at 11:50 AM

It is not a federal law respecting an establishment of religion per your literal reading of the wording of the Establishment Clause. It is the promotion of a religious view on behalf of government and if it that is its primary purpose, courts will find it violates the Establishment Clause.

Note that I said it is a judicial iinterpretation of the clause. A literal reading of the clause would not yield such a result and your kids could be indoctrinated all the day long.

skylark on October 20, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Note that I said it is a judicial iinterpretation of the clause. A literal reading of the clause would not yield such a result and your kids could be indoctrinated all the day long.

skylark on October 20, 2010 at 1:48 PM

Yeah, somehow the judicial interpretation always seems to leave out the fact that the 1st Amendment is directed at Congress, and it mentions “make no law”. It says nothing about promotion or favoring one group over the other.

Why is it interpreted anyway? Seems pretty straightforward. Unless you don’t like what it says and you want to change it’s meaning. Then I suppose one would feel the need to “interpret” it.

darwin on October 20, 2010 at 1:56 PM

alwaysfiredup on October 20 at 11:20 AM

I think I made it pretty clear that the holding only applied to the law in question. However, we know that any required teaching that falls within those parameters would be disallowed under that precedent.

We know that intelligent design as understood by the Dover School Board cannot be taught in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

skylark on October 20, 2010 at 2:01 PM

darwin on October 20, 2010 at 1:56 PM

Thus spake O’Donnell’s target audience.

skylark on October 20, 2010 at 2:08 PM

skylark on October 20, 2010 at 2:08 PM

Her audience has nothing to do with what I said.

darwin on October 20, 2010 at 2:33 PM

Remember when senators were expected to be intelligent? gosh all these people apologizing for an ignorant lady who has ran and lost for more government positions than most people know exist.

Zekecorlain on October 20, 2010 at 2:42 PM

1st amendment

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I see no Church or State

portlandon on October 19, 2010 at 4:39 PM

Neither do I.
And since I see the subject of public education being debated here, I’ll shove in my 2 cents worth.
The federal government has been given no power in the Const or its amendments to provide for the education of its citizens, right?
And according to the illustrious 10th:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The education of citizens would fall to the STATES.
The federal govt has usurped the power of the states by taking over the education of its citizens.
Nobody has howled about this to the point of a resolution.
And they should have.
If a state wants to provide for the education of its people, then we should have STATE schools, no federalized public education centers like we have now.
The PEOPLE of the states can therefore decide on their own what they want to teach their kids.
It is not the place of the feds, or SCOTUS (another federal govt branch) to be the sole abritrator of what is or is not Constitutional & therefore is not the sole abritrator of what a school can or cannot teach.
The Dept. of Ed. is an usurpation of power.
They are acting in the fed’s interest & are usurping the power of the STATES.
It is none of my business, nor yours, or anyone’s, if school A in Moscow ID wants to teach ID aka creationism in their schools & school B in San Francisco CA wants to teach their kids that Billy has 2 daddies.
There are going to be areas of the country that want to teach crackpot stuff & there are yet other areas of the country that will want to teach science & still other areas of the country that will want to teach crackpot science.
And it is a LOCAL concern, not a national one.
And as a citizen you can decide whether you want your kid to go to that school or not.
And if the state is making you pay taxes to go toward something you do not believe in, then you have the right to MOVE AWAY & take the kid somewhere else.
Education is NOT an enumerated power for the federal government to assume.

Badger40 on October 20, 2010 at 2:43 PM

Well, then, I had better not catch any of them teaching kids that killing non believers is wrong, just that it is against the law.

Saltysam on October 20, 2010 at 1:03 PM

Out of curiosity, was that ever covered in one of your high school courses? My parents taught me right vs wrong. My teachers handled academic material. Granted that was decades ago. Unfortunately, today our public schools today have become substitutes for families.

dedalus on October 20, 2010 at 2:54 PM

To shut out previous theories and deny them the light of day regardless of their state is quite simply dangerous and does a disservice to the current and future students/public/science.

Present the information accurately for what it is and you’ll never have a problem, when you start trying to force all thought into one direction, problems will abound.

Jason Coleman on October 20, 2010 at 1:07 PM

A discussion about epigenetics that references Lamarck would seem to make sense. Also, a discussion freshman year of which ideas qualify as scientific theories, and which are simply hypotheses, should be a requirement.

dedalus on October 20, 2010 at 3:10 PM

our public schools today have become substitutes for families.

dedalus on October 20, 2010 at 2:54 PM

And that is why NCLB will always be an utter failure.
You cannot guarantee success in all people. But you can guarantee failure by lowering the bar so that everyone strices to be mediocre.

which ideas qualify as scientific theories, and which are simply hypotheses, should be a requirement.

dedalus on October 20, 2010 at 3:10 PM

I hammer home constantly in all of my science class at HS 9-12 the difference btw hypotheses & theories.
And I am always hammering on the scientific method.
And I am always hammering on how we need to review the scientifc method in other people’s work (which is not really being done).
I’m hoping to at least educate a few teenagers on how to evaluate information by themselves.
I know I’ll never get all of them bcs I just don’t have enough time to tell some kids the millionth time about something, hoping that’s when they’ll make the connection.
Those of us who have parented teens know this to be true.

Badger40 on October 20, 2010 at 3:23 PM

strices

Oops! STRIVES

Badger40 on October 20, 2010 at 3:25 PM

Can I stick my nose in here?

Of course.

I hope that what you mean is, we should do away with any federal mandates to provide for public education, and leave it to the states and localities to determine a necessity to provide a public education funded with their own resources.

Saltysam on October 20, 2010 at 12:11 PM

That’s not what I mean. Though really, I’m not speaking about anything practical. I’m speaking more about the government I would create if I could start from scratch. There’s a value to education, but if we accept that the government is incompetent at running a business, why should we accept that it’s competent to teach children?

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Public schools were designed as indoctrination centers for American (read Protestant Christian) religion. You can look it up.

That turned out well.

And you know I just hated singing those “Praise Jesus” songs at assemblies I was forced to attend. It still makes me wary of socons.

Vouchers.

MSimon on October 20, 2010 at 3:39 PM

Hmm … Allah’s written this post pretty much in agreement with the LSM.

Okay – here’s my take.

This has gone crazy – and if you look over at ACE you’ll find that they’re down to parsing words now … small, common words like … “Did she insert at ‘THAT’ into that sentence? I thought I heard it!”

When you have turn up the audio and slow it down and rewind, play, pause, rewind just to hear ONE word – it’s an indication that you aren’t going to come up with the truth of what actually happened.

So what are we left with to determine if O’Donnell knows the constitution?

Well, we can do what Allah and the LSM has here – and assume she’s a dumb broad and has never read or heard the first amendment. Which would pretty much indicate she wouldn’t know the other nine amendments of the bill of rights – since the First amendment is kind of the most important one.

This also means of course – that you would have to conclude that she was never taught the bill of rights in school.

Or she has a very bad memory.

Look – you have to make too many “assumptions” to conclude that she doesn’t know the first amendment. I know most adults know the establishment clause. I know our schools suck and all – but they DO teach the Bill of Rights (or did when she went to school) … and, quite frankly – you only have to read, or hear the amendment ONE TIME to remember the “respecting the establishment of religion” phrase.

So why not give the woman the benefit of the doubt?

Oh – right … I remember now why we can’t do that … she’s not an “establishment” republican and unfairly beat a great Republican out of his chance to be Senator.

GOT IT!!

HondaV65 on October 20, 2010 at 3:47 PM

why should we accept that it’s competent to teach children?

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 3:31 PM

Of course you are right. We shouldn’t.
That is why the states should assert their rights of nullification via the 10th.
It would be hard at first, but eventually, other states would see the benefits.
Some may take longer than others to wean themselves off of the govt teat they keep sucking on.

Badger40 on October 20, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Actually, Kerry did not release his college records. They happened to be attached to the military records he released to three news organizations after the election.

Once again, no presidential candidate has ever purposely released his college transcripts.

skylark on October 20, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Happened to be? So what, he was just too stupid to check and see what he was sending? I believe that, but it still shows someone not heavily invested in keeping the records a secret.

You say again, but when you wrote of this earlier, you left out the purposely and made it sound as though these records were obtained through some wrong action on a reporter’s part.

Everything I’ve read on the issue says that the public wasn’t even interested in this until 2000, after which both Bush’s and Kerry’s grades were revealed. It may be relatively new, but it is something people want, so not disclosing the information is telling.

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 3:50 PM

And you know I just hated singing those “Praise Jesus” songs at assemblies I was forced to attend. It still makes me wary of socons.

Vouchers.

MSimon on October 20, 2010 at 3:39 PM

Why not eliminate public schools then?

HondaV65 on October 20, 2010 at 3:51 PM

And you know I just hated singing those “Praise Jesus” songs at assemblies I was forced to attend. It still makes me wary of socons.

MSimon on October 20, 2010 at 3:39 PM

How old are you? By the time I went to school, the teachers couldn’t even join us if we were praying.

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 4:03 PM

Why not eliminate public schools then?

HondaV65 on October 20, 2010 at 3:51 PM

I’m with you.
Let’s do it.
We can start by having them refuse federal $$.
If they start running on local $$, they will be more accountable for their actions & maybe quit screwing around.
Our supt. actually told us we needed to deficit spend.
And from what I gather, this is so we can prove we need more $$ from either the state or the feds.
Ridiculous!

Badger40 on October 20, 2010 at 4:05 PM

Of course you are right. We shouldn’t.
That is why the states should assert their rights of nullification via the 10th.
It would be hard at first, but eventually, other states would see the benefits.
Some may take longer than others to wean themselves off of the govt teat they keep sucking on.

Badger40 on October 20, 2010 at 3:47 PM

I’m not convinced it’ll happen, but it would be nice if more parents started deciding this for themselves and public schools just naturally shrank until the public realized they were useless.

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Our supt. actually told us we needed to deficit spend.
And from what I gather, this is so we can prove we need more $$ from either the state or the feds.
Ridiculous!

Badger40 on October 20, 2010 at 4:05 PM

That’s depressing.

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 4:06 PM

And you know I just hated singing those “Praise Jesus” songs at assemblies I was forced to attend. It still makes me wary of socons.

MSimon on October 20, 2010 at 3:39 PM

I went to John Tyler HS in Tyler TX in the early 80s & we went to pep rallies every Friday where they prayed & recited the pledge of allegiance.
My Jehovah Witness friend didn’t say anything during those times, she just didn’t participate in them, & still had fun participating in the rest of the pep rally.
Why is it such an issue?

Badger40 on October 20, 2010 at 4:07 PM

That’s depressing.

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 4:06 PM

I agree.
You cannot believe how public schools waste $$.
I am disgusted every time I go to work.

Badger40 on October 20, 2010 at 4:08 PM

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Kerry didn’t “send” his military records. He signed an SF 180 authorizing unrestricted access to his records by three news organizations. His school transcripts were not records of his military service, but were included with his reserve application records.

GWB’s, Gore’s, and Kerry’s school records were “revealed.” None of them provided them to the press for purposes of documenting their college records. And the interest in candidates’ academic achievements goes back as far as I can remember, and I specifically remember Kennedy’s record at Harvard being a hot topic.

People want what they’re told they want. If the press decided it was important to see a candidate’s marriage license, people would start being suspicious of every candidate who didn’t release it.

Talk about a silly topic.

skylark on October 20, 2010 at 4:09 PM

After watching the debate, I think Allah got it wrong. She’s not questioning that the First Amendment has an establishment clause; she’s questioning whether the words ‘separation of church and state’ appears there and if the whole ‘check your religion at the door when the State tells you to’ interpretation Coons and other liberals hang on the establishment clause is correct and warranted by the language.

And she’s right to question this.

manofaiki on October 20, 2010 at 4:10 PM

Ace at Ace of Spades is claiming the reporter for the Washington Post changed what O’Donnell actually said and then later on changed it back:

manofaiki on October 20, 2010 at 4:14 PM

People want what they’re told they want. If the press decided it was important to see a candidate’s marriage license, people would start being suspicious of every candidate who didn’t release it.

skylark on October 20, 2010 at 4:09 PM

Yeah, saying voters are dumb has always been a win for Democrats.

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 4:46 PM

You cannot believe how public schools waste $$.

Badger40 on October 20, 2010 at 4:08 PM

Whether or not that’s true, I know I certainly don’t want to believe it. But really, this is the kind of thing we should be holding them accountable for. We should know where the money is going and why. Unfortunately, parents often don’t get involved until their child is affected.

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 4:47 PM

parents often don’t get involved until their child is affected.

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 4:47 PM

Bingo. And people with no kids often don’t give a crap & they should as members of the community.

Badger40 on October 20, 2010 at 6:45 PM

Esthier on October 20, 2010 at 4:46 PM

And we have Fox News demonstrating what the GOP thinks of voters’ intelligence.

This thread is wrung dry of everything but silly insults. So you take care now…buh bye.

skylark on October 20, 2010 at 7:06 PM

Lemme start out with – I am an atheist.

And I am not.

Next. Evolution is a theory, it is incomplete, it is also wrong about many assumptions it makes. It is ridiculous to assert that the theory of evolution is fact.

But I totally agree with this. The word evolution is used to refer to everything from minor variations within a species — microevolution — to the theory that all organisms in existence now began with a single-celled organism — macroevolution.

Microevolution is observable, one species developing into another species is not observed, reptiles developing from amphibians has not only not been observed, but is necessarily unproven.

Science is supposed to be about discovering the laws and processes that cause something to happen, ergo the emphasis on experimentation to verify that the theory is correct.

Unfortunately, while it’s easy to test the theory of gravity by letting things fall, it’s hard to test the theory of evolution by making things evolve. Especially if, as the current theory holds, such evolution occurs over a period of millions of years.

Remember, Newton’s theories were also incomplete and wrong in many assumptions. Einstein’s theories are likewise incomplete and wrong in some of it’s assumptions (by Einstein’s own admission).

Newton’s theories worked very well in describing most phenomena, until you began dealing with things approaching the speed of light. It’s a great example of a theory being valuable while incomplete.

If we convert the Theory of Evolution into fact in contradiction of the evidence, we doom future scientists to failure and will essentially put “on pause” our study of life and it’s orgins.

It’s dangerous for those in authority to convert theory into fact and should be avoided at all cost.

Most of the science you know today, is simply wrong.

That’s the great thing about science. It’s a never ending process of discovery. Anyone providing “big facts” about systems is largely an ignoramous, or doing so solely for political or financial ends.

Jason Coleman on October 20, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Coons is demagoguing about evolution by calling it a fact, and only because he wants to label O’Donnell as a nut. As with his answer about the separation of church and state, the problem is what he does know that just ain’t so.

didymus on October 20, 2010 at 9:00 PM

The education of citizens would fall to the STATES.
The federal govt has usurped the power of the states by taking over the education of its citizens.
Nobody has howled about this to the point of a resolution.
And they should have.

Badger40 on October 20, 2010 at 2:43 PM

When Reagan came into office, he appointed a head of the Department of Education whose stated purpose was to work himself out of a job.

It turned out to be a lot harder to dissolve the Dept of Education than he hoped.

I’ve often wondered if this experience was what led him to say that the closest thing to eternal life in this world is a government bureaucracy.

didymus on October 20, 2010 at 9:04 PM

Patterico’s Pontifications has a must-read in a story related to this matter:

WaPo/AP Caught Revising the O’Donnell Story Without Issuing a Correction

How much did the left show its keister on O’Donnell’s alleged gaffe? So much so that the AP/WaPo story on the subject was almost completely rewritten last night, and without an official correction.

The total analysis is a refudiation of the elite left’s derision of O’Donnell.

Mutnodjmet on October 20, 2010 at 9:40 PM

Jason Coleman on October 20, 2010 at 11:30 AM

THANK YOU X 1,000,000,000,000

Carry on.

Cylor on October 20, 2010 at 9:54 PM

http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20101021/NEWS02/10210369/O-Donnell-Coons-hit-rewind-in-debate

OD does it again – this time she can’t name any sitting Democratic Senators.

I know I know….. she was set up by the LSM…/sarc

Bradky on October 21, 2010 at 7:17 AM

Bingo. And people with no kids often don’t give a crap & they should as members of the community.

Badger40 on October 20, 2010 at 6:45 PM

Agreed, but admittedly, as someone with no kids, I’m a bit of a hypocrite on that. Though I will say I (selfishly) understand that a a little bit more, as we’re not given the same information parents are.

Esthier on October 21, 2010 at 2:00 PM

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