Welcome to Current TV
Christine O'Donnell: "Where in the Constitution is the Separation of Church and State?"
The exchange, which prompted laughs from the studio audience, came during a debate this morning at Delaware's Widener School of Law, which was aired by WDEL radio.
In a discussion over the whether or not public schools should be allowed to integrate religion-based ideas into science curricula, O'Donnell argued that local school districts should have the choice to teach intelligent design if they choose.
When asked point blank by Coons if she believed in evolution, however, O'Donnell reiterated that her personal beliefs were not germane. "What I think about the theory of evolution is irrelevant," she emphasized, adding later that the school of thought was "not a fact but a theory."
Coons said that creationism, which he considers "a religious doctrine," should not be taught in public schools due to the Constitution's First Amendment. He argued that it explicitly enumerates the separation of church and state.
"The First Amendment does?" O'Donnell asked. "Let me just clarify: You're telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?"
"Government shall make no establishment of religion," Coons responded, reciting from memory the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (Coons was off slightly: The first amendment actually reads "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.")
"That's in the First Amendment...?" O'Donnell responded.
Also during the debate, O'Donnell stumbled when asked whether or not she would repeal the 14th, 16th, or 17th Amendments if elected.
"The 17th Amendment I would not repeal," she said, before asking the questioner to define the 14th and 16th amendments, adding: "I'm sorry, I didn't bring my Constitution with me."
The 16th Amendment allows Congress to raise taxes without apportioning them among the states or tying the taxation to Census results. The 14th Amendment grants citizenship to everyone born in the United States. The 17th Amendment established direct election by popular vote of two U.S. Senators to each state .
Earlier in the debate, O'Donnell accused Coons of constitutional ignorance, saying that "perhaps they didn't teach you Constitutional law at Yale Divinity School."
more from Community:
from the community