Last time I wrote on one of the stories highlighting Republican "gaffes" that really was not a mistake at all. This time I want to expand on another from Yahoo! News:
"Church, State, and the First Amendment: What O'Donnell and Coons Need to Know"
This one revolved around Christine O'Donnell challenging her opponent to tell her where "separation of church and state" appear in the Constitution.
Of course, the words do NOT appear in the Constitution. You can tell by watching the video that is exactly what she meant, and that the crowd understands this. The (edited) video, with the unbiased title, appears here:
According to the article author Ken Paulson, president of the First Amendment Center, "That means government can't limit our personal faith or favor one religion over others. It also means that creationism cannot be taught in America's public schools, because schools are run by governments, which are prohibited from endorsing a specific religious view."
See the slight of hand? we take "congress" to mean government, and then government to mean both federal and local, and finally all institutions associated with federal or local governments. Then we assume "shall make no law" to mean doing, saying, or expressing anything that might admit religion exists. Then, we can say that teaching creationism in school is prohibited by the first amendment.
Funny Thomas Jefferson did not believe that. I bring up Jefferson specifically because it was his letter to the Danbury Baptists in January of 1802 that spoke of the First Amendment "building a wall of separation between Church & State". Never mind that he clearly meant that wall was to protect religion, not to protect the people from religion. Look it up.
In his second inaugural address, in 1805, Jefferson said,"In matters of religion, I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the constitution independent of the powers of the general [i.e., federal] government. I have therefore undertaken, on no occasion, to prescribe the religious exercises suited to it; but have left them, as the constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of State or Church authorities acknowledged by the several religious societies."
There were actual state churches at this time. Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts had favored or "official" churches. How can that be? Because the men who wrote the words actually understood them. Congress is a specific body of the Federal government, not a nebulous concept. Laws are actual laws, not traditions or statements or anything that makes atheists uncomfortable. Finally, the Constitution itself it intended to restrict and define the powers of the Federal government, not the states or the people.
It might be wise to stop accepting opinions as facts and actually read the words. It might be a great idea to read the Tenth Amendment too. I think it makes it pretty clear where the founders' heads were at while writing our nation's fundamental law.