Separation of church and state, though not by those words, is codified into the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. However, one of the current candidates for the U.S. Senate believes that should change.
Thomas Jefferson is credited with popularizing the phrase “separation of church and state” as a way to describe the establishment clause in the First Amendment. The Freedom Forum Institute explains this thoroughly here, including noting that SCOTUS has cited this term in decisions, but a quick excerpt to bring a Founding Father’s view in will suffice for us:
Then in 1802, Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, wrote: “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 and State.”
Of course, not all of our legislators (or voters) agree. Here’s Josh Mandel, a Republican from Ohio who has held state and local offices and hopes to represent the state in the U.S. Senate in 2022. He does not think the Bible and Constitution should be separate.
He doesn’t say whether he explicitly means the Christian Bible or is broadly supporting holy books, but there’s room for an educated guess, especially with his campaign website featuring a Christian cross, and his Twitter bio assertion that the U.S. is founded on Judeo-Christian values.
In fact, he went on to try to support his anti-Constitutional declaration with another assertion of the same, and further claims that the nation was founded on, and should adhere to, his religious views can be seen in his campaign ads.
He also declared Biblical justice supreme over social justice, though he didn’t say what exactly he meant by ‘Biblical justice” — a phrase that could have a wide range of interpretations varying by sect.
Mandel appears to be trying to get noticed as we move closer to the 2022 election — he also recently made a big display of setting a mask on fire in a stairwell, dropping it on the ground, and walking away, filming it for social media.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com