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A blog that takes a look at West Chester area government, politics, and community events.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Oh, Chester County ACTION!

Yesterday, I visited the Chester County ACTION website. I hadn't been to it in a while, and I noticed some pretty significant changes. Gone is all of the we're fighting to bring God back into government rhetoric. But there's a new quotes section.

Here's who's quoted:

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Locke, William Penn, John Jay, Edmund Burke, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Dr. D. James Kennedy, and Ronald Regan.


I suppose Rush Limbaugh is kind of like a modern day founding father?

I wonder how many members of Chester County Action have read Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France. It's a much more difficult read, of course, than Beck's Arguing with Idiots.

But here's what really gets me: guess which Sean Hannity quote Chester County ACTION included on its quotes page?

"It doesn't say anywhere in the Constitution this idea of the separation of church and state.”

Whew! That's a relief. And all this time, liberals and those insidious RINOs have been telling us that we need to have separation of church and state!

Hannity is correct, if you want to consider the Constitution and the Bill of Rights two separate documents. But, you know, they're not, and Hannity is an idiot.

Let's remember what ACTION stands for: "Americans for Christian Traditions in Our Nation."

Why this rant? Why now?

A) I, for countless reasons, value the First Amendment. Without it, I'd likely be in a different line of work.

B) Gwenne Alexander, the president of Chester County ACTION, plans to run for the 156th District State House seat.

You can read a draft of her letter of interest (which is now circulating on the internet - this draft might not be the final one) here.

Note this sentence: "I have served as the CFO for a large non-profit Foundation in Chester County."

Oh? Which one is that?

All mention of Alexander has disappeared from ACTION's homepage. (OK, not entirely true. All of the pictures in the photo gallery were posted by "Gwenne." Click on the "Gwenne" link and you get a stub of Gwenne Alexander's Facebook Page.) ....

CORRECTION - On the contact page, she is listed as the president of Chester County Action. When writing this post yesterday, I didn't see the tiny red text in which her name is listed.



Blogger Adam said...

Actually, Hannity is right in a manner of speaking.

The separation of church and state is derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . ." The modern concept is often credited to the writings of English philosopher John Locke, but the phrase "separation of church and state" is generally traced to an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists, where Jefferson spoke of the combined effect of the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

Jefferson's Danbury letter has been cited favorably by the Supreme Court several times, notwithstanding that the Court has also criticized it. In its 1879 Reynolds v. United States decision the high court said Jefferson's observations 'may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the [First] Amendment.' In the court's 1947 Everson v. Board of Education decision, Justice Hugo Black wrote, "In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state." It is only in recent times that separation has come under attack by judges in the federal court system who oppose separation of church and state.

So while it is not "in" the Constitution it has been "implied," but not universally so. So Hannity can make his comment with a straight face, sort of.

AB, Esquire

March 17, 2010 8:34 AM 
Blogger Adam said...

Also, just as an aside, as a Christian myself, I think you misunderstand the issue people like ACTION have with the principle of the separation of Church and State (I am not a member, BTW). The problem as I see it is NOT with the words of the Constitution...namely, that Congress should not establish a "State Religion" (think England..) nor should anyone be prohibitted from practicing their religion (free exercise clause). Rather, the problem is with the idea that these two statements have been worked into a principle that effectively says there can be no public expression of Christianity. Thomas Jefferson wrote his words (see my previous blog comment) quite a while ago, but it is only recently that Christian expression has been routinely prohibitted from the public sphere. Why can kids sing Hannukah songs during school concerts in the name of "diversity" but no Christmas songs? No Nativity scene because its on the lawn of the Courthouse? Take down the 10 Commandments plaque that has been there for 150 years, and which most of our laws are based on? [If you think I overstate the bible's influence on our laws, I would tell you to go to the PA Supreme Court chambers in the Capital Rotunda in Harrisburg and see how far you get asking them to repaint the ceiling to cover up all the biblical figures depicted there....its' gorgeous, BTW, like Sistine Chapel gorgeous, but I digress!] This is the issue, not the words of the Constitution, but their interpretation and effect. We did not have this problem until the last 30 years or so....the issue just didn't come one complained about the Nativity Scenes and Crosses, Locke and Jefferson's interpretation of the principle cannot be the issue, but rather what politicians are doing with it and in its' name today.....Christians today are left feeling as if there is tollerance for everyone and everything but them and their ideas. I have to agree with ACTION about one thing: the tone out there today if you are a Christian is certainly hostile, at best...

AB, Esquire

March 17, 2010 8:52 AM 
Blogger Dan Kristie said...

Adam - I appreciate your perspective. It sounds like you and I are concerned with the same thing: ensuring free expression.

I worry, though, that not all Christian critics of modern applications of the establishment clause are as reasonable as you appear to be.

See: Texas Board of Education.

March 17, 2010 9:45 AM 
Blogger Adam said...

Thanks Dan. I agree, the "talking heads" are just spewing out their vitriol pandering to the least common denominator with their paranoid rhetoric comsisting of nothing more than vast generalizations sprinkled with a few paltry true facts. They end up highjacking reasonable ideas and turn them into.....I don't know what! But it sure seems popular!! They are really salesmen, nothing more. Why is it that all of them have a book or newsletter they want to sell you, each one invariably offering the only reasonable answer to America's problems? It's too bad that the vast majority of the electorate could really care less.....

March 17, 2010 12:30 PM 

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