As Coons attempted to defend why he thought no explanations should be discussed in schools other than Darwin's Theory of Evolution, Ms. O'Donnell caught him claiming the Constitution stated a wall of separation existed between the church and the state. As Ms. O'Donnell was aware, the notion of a ”wall of separation between church and state” is not found in the Constitution or any of its amendments. It is found in Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Association written January 1st, 1802. In this letter, Jefferson assures the Danbury Baptist Association that the government will not interfere with the religion of the Baptists, nor will an officer of government preside over a national religion, as the king of England did over the Church of England. It is an explanation that the Constitution protects the Danbury Baptists from governmental interference.
Coons attempted to misconstrue the impetus behind O'Donnell's question, to the laughter and great pleasure of the assembled dolt law school students in the audience. Following the next question, Coons attempted to embarrass Ms. O'Donnell, erroneously thinking he had caught Ms. O’Donnell in a simplistic error.
“I think you’ve just heard from my opponent in her asking ‘where is the separation of church and state’ show that she has a fundamental misunderstanding.”
“That’s in the First Amendment?” O’Donnell probed.
“Yes” Coons responded.
The First Amendment reads in part:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Coons misunderstood the text of the First Amendment and the significance of Ms. O'Donnell's question. He also apparently was unaware of the degree of knowledge Ms. O'Donnell possessed on the subject. O'Donnell is well versed in the First Amendment protections, as became embarrassingly obvious when O'Donnell asked Mr. Coons if he could identify the five freedoms protected in the First Amendment.
|Big on taxation, short on Constitutional restraint.|
Throughout, Coons was boorish and overbearing. His smug aside comments to the moderators, dismissive attitude toward Ms. O'Donnell and incessant interruptions of his young opponent were embarrassing to watch. For her part, Christine O'Donnell was warm and engaging, and consistently displayed a greater awareness of the topics at hand and their relevance to the people of Delaware.
Delawareans have a clear choice.