Christine O’Donnell’s campaign is clarifying her remarks Tuesday on whether the concept of separation of church and state is in the U.S. Constitution.
“In this morning’s WDEL debate, Christine O’Donnell was not questioning the concept of separation of church and state as subsequently established by the courts,” said campaign manager Matt Moran. “She simply made the point that the phrase appears nowhere in the Constitution.”
The Delaware Republican running for the U.S. Senate asked Coons, her Democratic opponent, “Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” during Tuesday’s debate. Listen to the audio of the debate here.
She was mocked in subsequent news reports after Coons pointed out the First Amendment clause that says Congress “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
The words “separation of church and state” can be traced back to Thomas Jefferson, but are not written in the Constitution.
Asked if there are law experts who reject that the concept of “separation of church and state” is reflected in the constitution, Susan Low Bloch, a professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center, said, “I don’t think so.”