|People for the American Way’s petition to US Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell:
Dear Ms. O’Donnell, As a candidate for U.S. Senate, you should display at least a basic knowledge of our Constitution and its First Amendment, which reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
When Sarah Palin took to the airwaves to spread her dangerously flawed understanding of freedom of speech, tens of thousands of activists joined PFAW in sending her copies of the First Amendment to help her get it. Now it seems that her protege, Christine O’Donnell — the GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in Delaware — needs help understanding the separation of church and state.
In a debate with her Democratic opponent Chris Coons (at a law school of all places), she challenged him to tell her where church-state separation was in the Constitution, and seemed absolutely baffled when he informed her that it was right there, clear as day, in the First Amendment. Even the audience gasped — and laughed — in shock. Clearly, O’Donnell needs to read the First Amendment again.
PFAW’s goal is to send tens of thousands — or even hundreds of thousands of copies of the First Amendment — to Chirstine O’Donnell. If she reads it over and over again, maybe the words will sink in and she’ll finally start to get the concept of separation of church and state.
It was remarkable. Christine O’Donnell was chiding Chris Coons about his knowledge of the Constitution as she defended her assertion that “evolution is a myth” and her support for allowing the teaching of creationism in public schools. Coons rightly felt she needed to be reminded about the constitutional foundations for the principle of separation of church and state, at which point her extremism … or stunning lack of knowledge … or both became evident.
Christine O’Donnell’s denialism extending from evolution to one of the bedrock constitutional principles on which our country was founded — the separation of church and state — is unacceptable.Let her know it and we’ll send her a copy of the First Amendment for every signature we get.