Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Farce or a Tragedy?

In a segment of Larry King Live focusing on marriage and the separation of church and state, Larry King and Dr. James Dobson had this exchange.

KING: Why is [marriage] a state institution rather than a religious institution? Why is the state involved? I'm not being...


DOBSON: Well, it's both. It is both. I mean, you can go...

KING: But we have a separation of church and state.

DOBSON: Beg your pardon?

KING: We have a separation of church and state.

DOBSON: Who says?

KING: You don't believe in separation of church and state?

DOBSON: Not the way you mean it. The separation of church and state is not in the Constitution. No, it's not. That is not in the Constitution. That was...

KING: It's in the Bill of Rights.

DOBSON: It's not in the Bill of Rights. It's not anywhere in a foundational document. The only place where the so-called "wall of separation" was mentioned was in a letter written by Jefferson to a friend. That's the only place. It has been picked up and made to be something it was never intended to be.What it has become is that the government is protected from the church, instead of the other way around, which is that church was designed to be protected from the government.

KING: I'm going to check my history.

I'll help you out Larry, here's a link to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, you won't find it in either place. You might try here.

Larry King isn't alone. I've met a few too many school teachers who believe that the separation of church and state is in the United States Constitution as well. If Larry King and many our school teachers don't know, what hope is there for the ordinary citizen? Unfortunately, it's the schools or the TV where most people get their information these days. And if there is a "wall of separation" it's between the citizen and his knowledge of the rights our great country affords him.

President James Madison said,
A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."
So with the knowledge most are given today, would President Madison believe we are becoming a farce, a tragedy, or perhaps both? And if that's the case is there anything that can alter our course? I believe there is.

Update: The Rambling Prophet has a nice round-up of others scrutinizing the King/Dobson exchange.

(HT: Blog from the Capital.)

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