- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 21, 2010


Arguments that the “separation of church and state” resides in the Constitution rely upon premeditated ignorance. Alexander Hamilton gave clear instructions on how to read this document in the “Federalist Papers.”

Manifest tenor and not spirit is the operative concept when he discussed the Judiciary. In “Federalist Paper 78,” he declared the duty of the Judiciary was to act according to the “manifest tenor” of the Constitution. In “Federalist Paper 81,” Hamilton says the plan does not empower the national courts to interpret laws according to the “spirit” of the Constitution.

The First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Any middle-schooler who diagrams this sentence and consults the meaning of the words would perceive a one-way screen and not a wall of separation. Congress is prohibited from acting upon the religious freedom of citizens. Nothing prohibits citizens from directly relying upon their religion to influence how they will be governed.

People attacking Christine O’Donnell must fabricate the illusion of separation from the ill-chosen words of Thomas Jefferson who was overseas during Constitution deliberations. They ignore those of Alexander Hamilton, who was part of the process.


Eugene, Ore.

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