Chris Coons: I believe churches have the absolute right to believe whatever religious doctrine they wish to, but you cannot impose…
Christine O’Donnell: And do local schools have the right to teach that?
Chris Coons: They do not.
Christine O’Donnell: Local schools do not have the right to teach what they feel? Well, there you go.
Chris Coons: Religious doctrine does not belong in our public schools.
Christine O’Donnell: Do you want a senator who is going to impose his beliefs? Talk about imposing your beliefs on the local schools! I’m saying that if the local community wants to teach the Theory of Evolution, it’s up to the School Board to decide. But when I made those remarks, it was because the School Board wanted to also teach the Theory of Intelligent Design, and the government said that they could not. You have just stated that you will impose your will over the local school district, and that is a blatant violation of our Constitution.
Chris Coons: And to be clear, Ms. O’Donnell, I believe that creationism is religious doctrine and that evolution is a broadly accepted…
Christine O’Donnell: How about the Theory of Intelligent Design?
Chris Coons: Creationism, which is…
Christine O’Donnell: Theory of Intelligent Design!
Chris Coons: ….is a religious doctrine.
Christine O’Donnell: No, two different things.
Chris Coons: Evolution is widely accepted, well-defended, scientific fact. And our schools should be teaching science. If we want to instruct our children in religious doctrine and religious practice, as my wife and I choose to, that’s wonderful. That’s what our churches are for. That’s what private or parochial schools are for. But our public schools should be teaching broadly accepted scientific fact, not religious doctrine.
Christine O’Donnell: Wow, you’ve just proved how little you know, not just about constitutional law, but about the Theory of Evolution. Because the Theory of Evolution is not a fact. It is indeed a theory. But I’m saying that theory — if local school districts want to give that theory equal credence to intelligent design, it is their right. You are saying it is not their right. Then that is what you’ve gotten our country into this position. It’s the overreaching arm of the federal government getting into the business of the local communities. The Supreme Court has always said it is up to the local communities to decide their standards. The reason we’re in this mess we’re in is because our so-called leaders in Washington no longer view the indispensable doc, uh, principles of our founding as truly that. Indispensable.
Chris Coons: And why doesn’t this…
Christine O’Donnell: We’re supposed to have limited government. Low taxes….
Moderator: All right.
Chris Coons: Can I have one of those? The indispensable principle is the separation of church and state.
Moderator: Okay. With that. We’ve had a very good dialogue. We appreciate that. Let’s move on so we can get through all the panelists and cover other areas.
Christine O’Donnell: Uh, where in the Constitution is separation of church and state?
(Uncomfortable laughter from the audience.)
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