Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle smiles as the crowd cheers June 17 at Stoney’s North Forty country bar as she prepares for an interview with conservative radio talk show host Roger Hedgecock. (Photo by K.M. Cannon)
I can’t make up my mind which was worse, Jon Ralston shouting over Sharron Angle trying to answer his predictable questions rehashing her past comments that are being played like an endless loop in Harry Reid commercials or his utter miscomprehension of the words and intent of the Constitution.
And don’t even get me started about all the bloggers who are calling this Tuesday TV appearance her first post nomination interview with the “mainstream” media. Ralston? Mainstream? Gag me. In fact, many of the questions were addressed in Laura Myers' June 18 Review-Journal story and any number of radio and TV appearances.
But let’s look at one question. Ralston — appearing to be in a constant state of agitation and incredulity — asked about separation of church and state. “You know that is in the Constitution,” he flatly stated, while I shouted at the television set, and, like Angle, was unable to be heard over his continuing rant.
Somewhere in there I think she told him he was wrong, but it is hard to hear.
She did manage to say, “Actually Thomas Jefferson has been misquoted like I’ve been misquoted out of context.” She went on to say Jefferson was telling a church that a wall of separation between the church and the state is to protect the church from the state. No, the Establishment Clause does not protect the state from religion.
Here is what Jefferson wrote the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802:
“The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
“I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.”
Angle is right. Ralston wrong.