Barack Obama vs. Ron Paul on Separation of Church and State

I’ve written several times recently about the manner in which the Democratic candidates are trying to go after the religious voters who tend to vote Republican. In an ideal world, I would prefer that the candidates answer questions about religion as the fictitious Republican candidate Arnold Vinick does in this clip from The West Wing. Unfortunately the reality of current political life is that no candidate would so clearly respond as Arnold Vinick did in differentiating religion from politics. Vinick concluded by offering that “every day until the end of this campaign I’ll answer any question anyone has on government, but if you have a question on religion, please, go to church.”

One of those who asked a question at the CNN/You Tube debate shared my concern about the manner in which the Democrats are going after the religious vote. He asked, “Am I wrong in fearing a Democratic administration that may be lip service to the extremely religious as much as the current one? And if so, why?”

While hardly matching Arnold Vinick’s answer, Barack Obama had an acceptable answer:

OBAMA: I am proud of my Christian faith. And it informs what I do. And I don’t think that people of any faith background should be prohibited from debating in the public square.

OBAMA: But I am a strong believer in the separation of church and state, and I think that we’ve got to translate…

(APPLAUSE)

By the way, I support it not just for the state but also for the church, because that maintains our religious independence and that’s why we have such a thriving religious life.

But what I also think is that we are under obligation in public life to translate our religious values into moral terms that all people can share, including those who are not believers. And that is how our democracy’s functioning, will continue to function. That’s what the founding fathers intended.

Besides outright standing up for separation of church and state, which is essential as many Republicans deny that this is what the founding fathers intended, Obama makes another important point which I’ve also noted here many times. Separation of church and state is not just a current liberal idea. Separation of church and state was an important idea to the founding fathers, and historically many religious groups also recognized the importance of this principle. The rights of everyone to worship, or not worship, as they choose can only be preserved if there is strict separation of church and state. As in so many other areas, Republicans demonstrate that their rhetoric of skepticism towards government does not translate to their policy decisions when they allow the government which they claim to distrust to become intertwined with religion.

Obama’s statement here on separation of church and state is clearer than anything I’ve heard from the other Democratic candidates, and obviously is a sharp contrast from the theocratic views of many of the Republican candidates–including GOP maverick Ron Paul. The Lippard Blog points out that Ron Paul is far closer to the Republicans as a social conservative than might be expected from a libertarian.

The social conservativism emanating from Ron Paul is a sign of the deleterious consequences of the failed attempts at conservative/libertarian fusionism. While I sympathize with Paul’s opposition to the war and some of his other positions, his absurd claim that “The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers” prevents me from considering him as a candidate, or believing his rhetoric of being a strict defender of the Constitution. Paul has supported keeping “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance, has co-sponsored the school prayer amendment, and supported keeping the Ten Commandments on a courthouse lawn. As with the other Republicans, Paul shows that he will cite the founding fathers and the Constitution when convenient, and ignore their principles when not. Barack Obama, a former professor of Constitutional law, shows a better understanding of this fundamental liberty than the candidate who is considered to be the most libertarian.

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40 Comments

  1. 1
    brody says:

    Here’s Ron Paul’s stance on this issue:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Here’s Obama’s stance on this issue:

    OBAMA: I am proud of my Christian faith. And it informs what I do. And I don’t think that people of any faith background should be prohibited from debating in the public square.

    OBAMA: But I am a strong believer in the separation of church and state, and I think that we’ve got to translate…

    You see the difference now?

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Brody,

    The difference is that Obama has stood up for separation of church and state while Ron Paul has written that he does not believe in it. He apparently forgot the portion of the Bill of Rights which you quote.

  3. 3
    Dave says:

    Barack Obama is CFR.
    Ron Paul is not.

    Ron Paul 2008.
    The rEVOLution will be YouTubed.

  4. 4
    Dave says:

    look who is smiling at you.

    http://www.foreignaffairs.org

    They are all the same, except for One.

    Ron Paul 2008!

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    Membership in the CFR means little–virtually everyone who is anyone in foreign affairs is a member.

    While CFR membership means little, paranoia about the CFR is a common characteristic of the right wing. The connections between Paul and right wingers such as the Birchers is disturbing, and seriously harms his credibility as a libertarian.

    As more people realize that Paul is more a traditional Republican right winger than a libertarian I suspect that his support will begin to erode.
    For anyone who might be returning to read the comments who read the original post earlier, I added a new sentence to the final paragraph citing more of Paul’s views on religion and government.

  6. 6
    G says:

    The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers” prevents me from considering him as a candidate, or believing his rhetoric of being a strict defender of the Constitution.

    It really depends on what you mean by “rigid separation”, I think you’ve got to take Paul’s quote in the context of the article it was written in. The founders definitely never meant for religion to be stricken from public life, and they certainly never wanted the government to be the tool to do so. While many of the founders were Diests, many were also Christian.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” in no way keeps a congressman from voting on religious principle, or keeps public schools from teaching religion if that is what the constituents of those schools want. All it means is that “congress shall make no law”. They can’t promote religion or damn it. They cannot rule on it at all; its none of their business. The separation is only between legislation and state, not state in its entirety.

    Paul’s objection in the article you cite (where he makes a few serious factual errors I’m surprised you didn’t mention) is that government is often in the business of actively removing religion from public life. This isn’t what the founders intended, and this isn’t what the people who ratified the Constitution thought it meant. I’m agnostic, and I find the idea of parents teaching their children about creationism and not evolution totally abhorrent. But its not my place to force them to do something because I feel I’m smarter than they are.

    I think the prime misunderstanding behind Dr. Paul’s position is because a lot of people today don’t really know what freedom is, as silly as that sounds. They are taught in schools that America is a free country because it is democratic, when of course nothing could be further from the truth. Democracies were not new, and the founders hated the idea of pure ones. People are not free when they have the freedom to use government force to make people live or behave a certain way. People are free when government cannot use force to make people live how other people want them to.

    In my opinion, federal government promotion or abolishment of religion (often through the Supreme Court these days) is a complete perversion of the 1st and 9th amendments. But then, the 9th amendment has been dead for a long time now…

  7. 7
    Mary says:

    Ron Paul upholds the Constitution, plain and simple.
    Even when his own personal beliefs might be different.

    Regarding the Founders/Church/State and the Constitution, there are two main sides to the argument:

    Side 1: Many of our founders were not Christian, but deists. They specifically left all mention of theology out of the Constitution for a good reason. Jefferson spoke of a “wall of separation” between church and state in a letter he wrote. The founders were rebelling against a more theocratic government in England.

    Side 2: The first amendment protects free expression of religion. The founders prayed before most of their official government meetings. Only a couple out of the many founders were merely “deists.” The DOI says “endowed by their creator.”

    These arguments can go back and forth forever and degenerate into a question of whether the USA was founded as a “Christian nation.”

    Points:
    1. The Constitution has been interpreted to separate church and state, but never to separate religion and politics.
    2. Ron Paul is not a theocrat. He has a history of tolerance, and doesn’t seek to force his religious views on anyone through politics.
    3. Ron Paul strongly believes that all of our rights come from our creator. So you’re gonna hear a few references to God. It’s inevitable. And it’s the basis for his entire worldview.

  8. 8
    Ron Chusid says:

    “Ron Paul is not a theocrat.”

    He isn’t as bad as the many of the other Republicans, but his voting record often reflects the agenda of the religious right. Again, while not as bad as many others in the Republican Party, I find both his voting record and writings on religion and politics to be quite disturbing.

  9. 9
    G says:

    Mary made a very good point. The separation of CHURCH and state is not the same thing as a separation of RELIGION and state. A church is an establishment of religion, and the first ammendment establishes a separation between legislation and churches. But it does not separate religion and state.

  10. 10
    Ron Chusid says:

    Regardless of how you parse the wording, Paul has written that he does not believe in separation of church and state, and this is reflected in his voting record.

  11. 11
    Craig Royce, Boscobel WI says:

    being the most athiest of athiests I actually abhor religion. I’m voting for Ron Paul.

    a closer look at what he says reveals a bit different story than what you portray in your blog.

    here is where the “quotes” were lifted from

    http://www.ronpaullibrary.org/document.php?id=259

    Dr. Paul is for maximum liberty for everyone and believes , rightly so, that religion is not a FEDERAL issue.
    Under a properly run constitutional republic, individuals have freedom of religion as well as freedom from religion

  12. 12
    G says:

    How you “parse” the wording determines what the wording means. The quote you produced was from an article where Dr. Paul was speaking out against government actions which suppressed religious expression by individuals in public life. In that context, there is definitely not a rigid separation in the Constitution.

    His voting record does not reflect any agenda to push religion on people. He even voted against a bill which simply set aside time for students to pray if they wanted to.

    Dr. Paul has sponsored an amendment which would ensure religious freedom, the text is as follows:

    Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to prohibit individual or group prayer in public schools or other public institutions. No person shall be required by the United States or by any State to participate in prayer . Neither the United States nor any State shall compose the words of any prayer to be said in public schools.

    The text of an earlier amendment proposed,

    To secure the people’s right to acknowledge God according to the dictates of conscience: Neither the United States nor any State shall establish any official religion, but the people’s right to pray and to recognize their religious beliefs, heritage, or traditions on public property, including schools, shall not be infringed. Neither the United States nor any State shall require any person to join in prayer or other religious activity, prescribe school prayers, discriminate against religion, or deny equal access to a benefit on account of religion.

  13. 13
    Ron Chusid says:

    Craig,

    I quoted directly from an article written by Ron Paul with a link (not the same article as in your comment) in which Paul makes it clear that he does not believe in separation of church and state. There are also additional statements from him on religion which would prevent me from voting for him.

    G,

    The fact remains that Paul has supported prayer in the public schools. Being against requirements to have prayer and being against the government composing the words are fine, but not sufficient. I’m sure some Paul supporters are ok with his views on religion and government, but they are unacceptable for me, and I suspect to a number of others who are supporting Paul but are unaware of this.

  14. 14
    G says:

    Our constitution supports freedom of religious expression in schools, though I’m sure he’d support it even if it did not (being a Christian). I really doubt many of his supporters want prayer in schools prohibited or required, since many are libertarians after all. At least, I’d hope they don’t… The idea of government limiting religious expression in public places is a little scary for me, even as an agnostic. Public prayer neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg, after all.

    All this conflict is really just a symptom of what happens when you take schooling choices out of the hands of parents and children and put them in the hands of a federal government which rules over 300 million people. Its silly, and IMO getting rid of that is the first step.

  15. 15
    Ron Chusid says:

    “Our constitution supports freedom of religious expression in schools”

    The Constitution supports freedom of religous expression–not school prayer.

  16. 16
    Thomas says:

    When Obama says his faith informs him, do you think that will stop should he somehow become president? Of course not. The same is for Paul. They both will continue in their faith. The idea that Obama would prevent people from doing that and Paul would not is silly.

    Each person brings is whole person to service, and that applies to service as president.

  17. 17
    Ron Chusid says:

    “When Obama says his faith informs him, do you think that will stop should he somehow become president?”

    The difference is that Obama has spoken of the differences between his religious views and defending the principle of separation of church and state. In contrast. Paul claims this does not exist. Paul’s voting record also demonstrates that his religious and conservative social views, as opposed to strict adherence to the Constitution, are guiding his decisions.

  18. 18
    Eric Kuhlmann says:

    I think its pretty awesome that we are even having this discussion. A candidate that makes us dust off the constitution and actually read and discuss it can only be a good thing.

    Even If I vehementy disagreed with all of pauls social and economic views, its just irrelevant to me. Id still fight for him. It is that strict adherance to the consitution and consistant integrity that makes me support him. There is no one else to vote for. A Paul presidency will only encourage more members of government to follow his lead.

    The one thing I am certain of with paul, is that hes not going to make sweeping changes or lead us into war under pretenses of “executive priviledge” Hes going to go to congress as he should, so it doesnt matter if i agree with him on everything.

  19. 19
    Cornelius says:

    “Paul makes it clear that he does not believe in separation of church and state.”

    Being an atheist, I’m entirely in favor of having a strict separation, but the Constitution doesn’t do that. If one actually reads the Constitution, it explicitly talks about forbidding “establishment,” the practice of the government in setting an official religion as occurred in England. To elaborate this point, Connecticut had an Established Church until 1818, and another state (I forget which) had one until the 1830s. This, while loathesome to me, was perfectly constitutional (see the 10th Amendment).

    If you want strict separation of religion and government at all levels, then agitate for a Constitutional amendment. Until then, look at the history books and understand what was written, not what you wished was written.

    On this topic Dr. Paul is on solid Consitutional ground, and Obama is mouthing pleasant words. And Paul would make federal “prayer in schools” moot, seeing as how education is not a federal issue.

  20. 20
    Ron Chusid says:

    Eric,

    “I think its pretty awesome that we are even having this discussion. A candidate that makes us dust off the constitution and actually read and discuss it can only be a good thing.”

    Agree this is certainly more meaningful that the differences in policy between many of the more establishment politicians. It is also one reason I’ve posted in opposition to ideas which would restrict the debates to the presumed front runners, keeping out people like Paul.

    Cornelius,

    “Being an atheist, I’m entirely in favor of having a strict separation, but the Constitution doesn’t do that.”

    Writings of Jefferson and other founding fathers demonstrate that this is what was intended by the 1st Amendment. This was also the predominant view until the right wing started to make their claims about separation of church and state. I’ll stick with Obama on this–both because he has the prefered view, and his experience as a Constitutional law professor gives him credibility in making this point.

  21. 21
    Jim Lippard says:

    1. Paul is deluded if he thinks that the Constitution is “replete with references to God.” There’s exactly one, and it’s in the phrase “the year of our Lord” before the signatures. The Constitutional Convention had a vote about whether to begin meetings with prayer, and they voted no.

    2. Madison was a relatively strict separationist, opposing even military chaplains.

    3. The First Amendment was intended to prohibit state-established as well as federally-established religions, and this was made explicit with the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment.

    4. There are plausible interpretations of the establishment clause that are more permissive than strict separation. None prohibit religion from the public square when it appears as a result of the voluntary actions of individual citizens, as opposed to governmental action by government agents.

    5. Paul’s proposed amendment in comment 12 seems to open the door to government agents leading prayer in schools, which the Supreme Court has ruled a violation of the establishment clause. The question to ask yourself is–if you would object to a schoolteacher or principal leading a group prayer for a religion you find objectionable (say, Islam, Hinduism, the Hare Krishnas, Scientology, or Satanism), then it should be legally just as objectionable as for a religion you support. Many of the Christians who want public group prayer, led by teachers, back in schools would violently oppose any such prayers for other religions. The part of the proposed amendment about the composition of the words appears to be a red herring that opens the door to mandated (but opt-out) prayers like the Lord’s Prayer or Ave Maria (or excerpts from the Satanic Bible).

  22. 22
    Cornelius says:

    Ron,

    “Writings of Jefferson and other founding fathers demonstrate that this is what was intended by the 1st Amendment.”

    So the fact that some states had established churches for decades after the ratification of the Constitution does not inform your conclusions?

    Please keep in mind I agree with your positon on the merits of separation, and were it an issue in my state, I would fight for it; were it a Constitutional Amendment, I would vote for it. What I disagree with is the notion that we should re-read the Constitution to mean whatever is convenient to us.

    And I have known too many law professors and too many politicians to put any stock into what either say about the Constitution, much less when one man is both.

    Jim,

    “The First Amendment was intended to prohibit state-established as well as federally-established religions”

    I’d enjoy seeing you prove this intent of the amendment considering, as mentioned above, states had established churches for decades after the ratification of the Constitution.

    “… and this was made explicit with the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment.”

    It truly was a remarkable amendment, for anyone who wishes anything can probably find it there. Lucky thing too since not everything can be shoe-horned through the Commerce Clause.

  23. 23
    Ron Chusid says:

    “So the fact that some states had established churches for decades after the ratification of the Constitution does not inform your conclusions?”

    Some of the founding fathers intended for the 1st Amendment to apply to the states but it took years for this to be established. The ideas of the founding fathers were radical at the time and it took time to put them into practice nation wide.

    Getting these principles to be applied required more than a single discret action, but the Fourteenth Amendment was very instrumental in establishing the principle that all rights guaranteed by the Constitution apply not only to the federal government but to state government.

    If we accepted your argument, there would be no reason why we do not still have established churches in any states. This raises the question of whether Paul (who does not believe that there is separation of church and state in the Constitution) would allow for resestablishment of state religions.

    “And I have known too many law professors and too many politicians to put any stock into what either say about the Constitution, much less when one man is both.”

    This is not only Obama’s interpretation of the Constitution. This is the general view of most Constitutional scholars, other than the right wingers who have been reinterpreting the Constitution and trying to rewrite history to fit their beliefs.

  24. 24
    Jim Lippard says:

    Cornelius: Madison wanted language in the First Amendment that explicitly applied to the states, but it was voted down. I retract my statement that the First Amendment itself was intended to apply to the states–that’s what Madison wanted, but he didn’t get his way.

    However, it is clear from the debate over the 14th Amendment that it was intended to apply all of the Bill of Rights to state action. Rep. Bingham, the author of the 14th Amendment, said:

    “Is the Bill of Rights to stand in our Constitution hereafter, as in the past five years within eleven States, a mere dead letter? It is absolutely essential to the safety of the people that it should be enforced…’Mr. Speaker, it appears to me that this very provision of the bill of rights brought in question this day, upon this trial before the House, more than any other provision of the Constitution, makes that unity of government which constitutes us one people, by which and through which American nationality came to be, and only by the enforcement of which can American nationality continue to be…’What more could have been added to that instrument to secure the enforcement of these provisions of the bill of rights in every State, other than the additional grant of power which we ask this day?…Gentlemen who oppose this amendment oppose the grant of power to enforce the bill of rights.”

    and

    “I have advocated here an amendment (the 14th amendment) which would arm Congress with the power to compel obedience to the oath, and punish all violations by State officers of the bill of rights, but leaving those officers to discharge the duties enjoined upon them as citizens of the United States by that oath and by that Constitution.”

    In the Senate, Sen. Howard said, in favor of the 14th Amendment:

    “Now, sir, there is no power given in the Constitution to enforce and to carry out any of these guarantees. They are not powers granted by the Constitution to Congress, and of course do not come within the sweeping clause of the Constitution authorizing Congress to pass all laws necessary and proper for carrying out the foregoing or granted powers, but they stand simply as a bill of rights in the Constitution, without power on the part of Congress to give them full effect; while at the same time the States are not restrained from violating the principles embraced in them except by their own local constitutions, which may be altered from year to year. The great object of the first section of this amendment is, therefore, to restrain the power of the States any compel them at all times to respect these great fundamental guarantees.”

  25. 25
    trey007 says:

    Ron Chusid, you wrote: “While I sympathize with Paul’s opposition to the war and some of his other positions, his absurd claim that “The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers” prevents me from considering him as a candidate, or believing his rhetoric of being a strict defender of the Constitution.” I and most libertarians agree with you on this point, except we are still better off with a ANTI WAR Ron Paul, than a Pro War Obama. We as voters, must rank in importance both what matters to oneself, and what is likely that a president can do… So when it comes to Obama vs Ron Paul, Ron in my book wins hands down. Yes I disagree with Ron on Separation of Church n State, I am an atheist/evolutionist, and I am pro-choice in most situations (but against public funding and repeated use of the procedure) I also disagree in other things…but as our President, he could do next to nothing on these issues. But Foreign Policy is certainly under the future Presidents control, and Obama, like Hillary, is truly a war hawk, of the Bill Clinton “Humanitarian kind” who preemptively invaded Serbia and Kosovo for the alleged mass atrocities. Obama, would invade a nuclear Pakistan of 150 million Muslims who are pro-Bin Laden, and now, thanks to Bush, has 17 new American made F-15 fighter jets. You have a keen eye on Ron Paul, but you must also see that the only two other Anti-war Candidates have effectively lost, Mike Gravel and Denis Kucinich. A Ron Paul presidency, would with the help of a Democratic Congress, roll back the Military – Corporate Complex, return our troops from 150 plus countries, and free up billions of dollars for true defense of the USA. Pound for Pound, Ron Paul is the better Candidate. Also, I deeply suspect the reason the fundamentalists have not accepted Ron Paul’s anti-abortion Christian credentials and jumped on his band wagon is because they sense Ron’s rationality and hatred for big government, thus Christians fundamentalists will not get the Big Govt STICK to force its moral vision down our collective throats. Ron, having lost as a libertarian candidate in 1988, may have “picked” his Republican positions, like all of us must do. So what is very clear, unlike Hillary and Obama, Congressman Ron Paul’s long and consistent voting pattern is TOTALLY 100% anti war…. From the “Iraq Regime change law” which came during the Clinton 1990’s to present day,Ron Paul is 100% Anti-War. That should make real Liberals stand up and take notice….if for no other reason to switch over and registar as a Republican just for the primaries” to make SURE that 2008 is a Win-Win choice. In the general election they can vote the Hillary/Obama ticket. For that reason alone, you should consider Ron Paul over Obama, any day of the week. Obama is busy now beating his chest like a War Hawk, and has no true principled position–has refused to take nukes and pre-emptive strike off the table. So we all could and should imagine the benefits of a Ron Paul Presidency combined with a Democratic House and Senate. The Military-Corporate Industrial Complex would be in for a serious downsizing. But with Hillary or Obama, nothing much will change, the USA will still “be in the middle east protecting ‘our’ interests”. A president is not going to change the Separation of Church and State issue or even abortion. The Supreme Court has ruled in our favor. So this atheist says, Go Ron Paul! Go!

  26. 26
    Ron Chusid says:

    It doesn’t look like you’ve paid the slightest bit of attention to what Obama has actually said on foreign policy.

  27. 27
    trey007 says:

    Ok, fill me in… is he anti war in your opinion? Got links to speeches, quotes? Is he an interventionist? Clue me in…where do you think he is coming from?

  28. 28
    Ron Chusid says:

    If by anti-war you mean opposed to all wars, no that is an absurd position. If you mean being opposed to the Iraq War, he was from the start. A summary of his position on Iraq:

    http://www.barackobama.com/issues/iraq/

    Asking whether someone is an interventionist is almost as absurd as asking if they are anti-war. It depends upon the situation.

  29. 29
    Trey007 says:

    By anti-war, I mean against all offensive wars. Asking someone if they are an interventionist is not absurd and should not be absurd question coming from a Liberalvalues website as defined at home page … the Foreign policy of the United States has been on military interventionist one, a merchantilist driven path for a very long time, thus its foreign policy has not been very “liberal” as you have it there spelled out in wikipedia. Furthermore, Obama did say this, “When I am President, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”…. That should tell us, those concerned about our liberal freedoms are in danger from the continued Military Industrial Congressional Corporate Complex. All our freedoms require a peaceful and yes, non interventionist foreign policy. If Obama thinks that still more fighting is needed “for our interests” in the “middle east” he simply wanting to change stratagy, not Policy. Ron Paul is calling for a thorough change in Policy, much like Mike Gravel and Denis Kucinich have done. I am not sure where the New Mexico Governor stands on the this, but it would be very exiting for liberals…who love our ACLU freedoms, Seperation of Church and State Freedoms, First Amendment freedoms, free market freedoms, love science and reason, etc. The danger to our country can be said to have come from our militarists interventionist merchantilist foreign policy. We have been suffering the Blowback from our interventionist foreign policy. I would argue that to be against a pre-emptive first strike foreign policy is an Anti-war position, a liberal position. We should be against it when Bill Clinton does it for humanitarian reasons in Kosovo, and against it when Obama calls for it in the “right battlefields” of Pakistan and Afganistan. I read the Obama link provide, and it seems to me he is an interventionist, not for pulling our US military out of the Middle East, out of Korea, out of Germany, etc. He seems to model himself, conciously or not, like JFK. Thus that is scary. JKF was eagar interventionist, from South Korea, to Vietnam and around the world. Reading further about Obama he says “Above all, I will send a clear message: we will not repeat the mistake of the past, when we turned our back on Afghanistan following Soviet withdrawal. As 9/11 showed us, the security of Afghanistan and America is shared. And today, that security is most threatened by the al-Qaeda and Taliban sanctuary in the tribal regions of northwest Pakistan. al-Qaeda terrorists train, travel, and maintain global communications in this safe-haven. The Taliban pursues a hit and run strategy, striking in Afghanistan, then skulking across the border to safety.”

    So just like Bush, Obama does not get it. He does not get that why the terrorism in the first place. Obama has it exactly backwards: Our initial intervention, and not withdrawing our largely covert presence in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and continued one-sided support for Israel’s aparthied of the Palistainian people (what else can an ACLU civil libertarian call it?) is what led to 9/11. Further, our CIA turned its back and left Afganistan, and Blowback has come to hit us. No, its doubtful Obama even read the reasons why Bin Laden declared war on the USA and attacked us? Its clear Obama would violate the sovergnty of Pakistan “if their President does nothing to get the terrorists”. Its clear that under an Obama administration, our Military Corporate Industrial Congressional Complex, will be well feed. Read, more interventions, and more blowback. No, Ron Paul has it right when he fingered the CIA’s responsibility for the Coup in 1954 Iran resulting in the taking of American hostages in 1979. Ron Paul gets it. Obama does not. Where Richardson stands, I do not know. But one thing is for sure, when asked what is the most pressing issue of our time, only Congressman Ron Paul answered, its our sudden willingness to pre-emptive war, with Iran, with nukes….its all against the Christian (and Liberal) Just War theory. I could not agree more.

  30. 30
    DANIEL says:

    You should read some of the extremely cruel comments made on my site by these Ron Paul supporters. They are so cruel and full of venom. They have told the lady in my video that she needs to die, that our country should not support her. This lady is on oxygen and morphin just to stay alive. Her and her husband on the poverty level. He worked for many years but got hurt and is disabled, too. They both raised two children that did not belong to them without any outside help. These Ron Paul immediately called her an idiot and bashed her for saying that they are in poverty. These are some cruel-hearted people and if Ron Paul is anything like them, who is against Israel, we better think twice about voting for the likes of him. These are some very wacky disturbed fanatical people. Although I do see some validity in some of the points they make, they are made in a very aggressive and disturbing manner. Scary people! Be wary… very wary!

  31. 32
    Bif Lerman says:

    Trey007 said:

    “A president is not going to change the Separation of Church and State issue or even abortion. The Supreme Court has ruled in our favor. So this atheist says, Go Ron Paul! Go!”

    Speaking of the Supreme Court…it is very likely that the next president will have the ability to maintain or throw off the balance of our Supreme Court depending on their choice of appointee. As an atheist, does it not bother you at all that Ron Paul’s religious preference will most likely guide him to shift the balance to Christian right? If he is for abolishing abortion, would this not be his way to do it?

    I agree with Ron on many a views, but I also think that we must look at more than just their policy and presentation. The big picture must be taken into consideration when examining the over outcome and consequences of our choices. The unbalancing of our Supreme Court would disrupt the system for a long time to come.

    What are you thoughts?

  32. 33
    Ron Chusid says:

    Bif,

    Agree with you that, as a result of Ron Paul’s social conservativism, the legacy of a Paul administration could turn out to be reduced freedom. A court which is moved further to the right could overturn Row v. Wade as well as do considerable harm on other social issues.

  33. 34
    Daniel says:

    From what I see, he believes separation of church and state is regulation, and he only wants the right to prayer in school protected. Like, if the right to own a gun wasn’t protected, with all of the gun control going around, states could and some probably would ban guns completely! I disagree with him on the “right to pray” though, but in the sense that prayer should not be the ONLY thing protected in public schools. Just take the “BONG HiTS FOR JESUS” ruling as a perfect example. Worse still that the school got away with it is that this is going to be a commonly cited issue when it comes to schools’ banning speech, when in the case of BONG HiTS, the situation was extremely, extremely specific. That’s probably how it got to the Supreme Court in the first place.

  34. 35
    Ron Chusid says:

    Daniel,

    If that is what Paul thinks then he is even more misinformed on the issue than his previous statements indicate.

    It is a common tactic of supporters of school prayer to claim that the restrictions prevent private prayer. The goal is not to prevent private prayer but to prevent school sponsored prayer. Even Mike Huckabee has agreed that there is no need for this.

    There is no real relationship between the Constitutional separation of church and state and the Bong Hits for Jesus case.

  35. 36
    blah says:

    “The quote you produced was from an article where Dr. Paul was speaking out against government actions which suppressed religious expression by individuals in public life.”

    Actually, he has often said that the idea of rigid separation between church and state has no basis in the Constitution or in the writings of our founding fathers.

    And he has said so in a wide variety of contexts.

    For example, here’s another article in which he makes this silly claim. He uses it to bolster his argument that Texas should be allowed to outlaw sodomy.

    Another piece of inanity from that particular document: He also claims that Texas should be allowed to outlaw sodomy because “there clearly is no right to privacy nor sodomy found anywhere in the Constitution. There are, however, states’ rights – rights plainly affirmed in the Ninth and Tenth amendments.”

    This makes me strongly believe that Ron Paul actually has no idea what the Ninth Amendment says.

    Because it basically says the exact opposite:

    It says nothing — nothing at all — about the “states’ rights” that he says it “plainly affirms”.

    And it says that the fact that the Constitution does not list certain rights cannot be taken to mean that people don’t have such rights.

    The entire point of the Ninth Amendment was to say that arguments like Ron Paul is making are invalid.

    The fact that he is invoking the Ninth Amendment itself to claim that his argument is valid is sheer absurdity.

  36. 37
    Jim says:

    I’m still a little confused on Ron Paul’s position on State Religions. Does he believe a state is allowed to create a state religion? Another question I have is about his interpretation on the fourteenth amendment(which I think is the appropriate one to cite). Does he believe a state has the power to make a law preventing women from working? Please don’t tell me your interpretation of the constitution I would like to know if anyone knows what he actually believes.

  37. 38
    Ron Chusid says:

    Jim,

    It is difficult to answer your question as unless there’s an article out there with the specific situations you ask about this is largely speculation about Paul’s positions. I can guess based upon his writings in similar areas, but this does not mean Paul actually thinks along these lines in these specific cases.

    I would guess that Paul would believe that a state is allowed to create a state religion. This is based upon the fact that the First Amendment did not apply to the states until the 14th Amendment, and early in our history states could have a state religion. As Paul does not believe in separation of church and state, and does not believe that the 14th Amendment extended the Bill of Rights to apply to state governments, I suspect he would see this as a states rights issue.

    I haven’t seen anything in his writings close to the question of whether a state government could make a law preventing a woman from working but if I had to guess I would fear that he would be against restrictions on state governments which would prevent them from enacting such laws.

  38. 39
    Matt says:

    There is no restriction on private prayer in schools so long as class is not in session.  Nor should there be.  Many of my fellow students silently prayed in the hallway, at their table in the lunchroom, or after-hours if their local church rented a classroom in the school for an evening.  However, there’s already enough to do in school when class starts with work, and accommodating the religious views of each and every child in such a diverse student body could take hours if mandated or supported by the public school system.
    It’s best to leave prayer for your church or when class is not in session.  Should Muslims be able to kneel on the ground before math for ten minutes?  If I’m a Satanist, shouldn’t the school accommodate me, too?  Ir’s far too much of a slippery slope.

  39. 40
    JMadison says:

    FOR THOSE WHO WORSHIP RON PAUL

    “The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution (OR) the writings of our Founding Fathers” – Ron Paul

    Oh Really Mr Ron Paul? Really? I can find tons of comments from our founding fathers with regards to this debate. Why can’t you.

    Lets skip the ‘comments’ or ‘writings’ however that you hear on FOX TV while the negative comments are ignored.

    Lets go with a written LEGAL document shall we?

    Treaty of Tripoli 1797 – Only 20 years after the founding of this country. This  Treaty read aloud and signed by ALL members of congress and President (John Adams) who were among our founding fathers.

    Read This Ron Paul worshippers:

    Article 11: “We are NOTa Christian Nation….”

    An explict LEGAL declaration of the separation of a particular religion and the State. In this case Christianity specifically.

    Obama is right Ron Paul is wrong on this matter!!!
    Ron Paul you have shown me you re a complete retard on this matter and need to reeducate your thinkings on this position if you are going to parade around as an upholder to the intent of the words.

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