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FOF's Dobson disses church-state wall on 'Larry King Live'.



Focus on the Family founder James Dobson James Clayton "Jim" Dobson, Ph.D. (born April 21, 1936 in Shreveport, Louisiana) is the chairman of the board of Focus on the Family, a nonprofit organization he founded in 1977.  attacked the wall of separation between church and state during a Nov. 22 appearance on CNN's "Larry King Live Larry King Live is a nightly CNN interview program hosted by broadcaster and writer Larry King. The show premiered in 1985, and is CNN's most watched program, with over one million viewers nightly. ," telling King that the concept is not in the Constitution.

The topic came up after King quizzed Dobson on his opposition to same-sex marriage Noun 1. same-sex marriage - two people of the same sex who live together as a family; "the legal status of same-sex marriages has been hotly debated"
couple, twosome, duet, duo - a pair who associate with one another; "the engaged couple"; "an inseparable
. The CNN CNN
 or Cable News Network

Subsidiary company of Turner Broadcasting Systems. It was created by Ted Turner in 1980 to present 24-hour live news broadcasts, using satellites to transmit reports from news bureaus around the world.
 host asked, "Why can't marriage be somewhere in the middle, a religious institution? You want to be married, you go to a church, you go to a synagogue synagogue (sĭn`əgŏg) [Gr.,=assembly], in Judaism, a place of assembly for worship, education, and communal affairs. The origins of the institution are unclear. One tradition dates it to the Babylonian exile of the 6th cent. B.C. , but anything to do with the state should be a [civil] union."

King apparently did not find Dobson's answer to his liking and prodded further, asking, "Why is it a state institution rather than a religious institution? Why is the state involved? We have a separation of church and state
See also: .
Separation of church and state is a political and legal doctrine which states that government and religious institutions are to be kept separate and independent of one another.
."

To this Dobson replied, "Beg your pardon? Who says?"

King replied, "You don't believe in separation of church and state?"

Dobson answered, "Not the way you mean it. The separation of church and state is not in the Constitution. No, it's not. That is not in the Constitution."

King interrupted with, "It's in the Bill of Rights."

To this Dobson replied, "It's not in the Bill of Rights. It's not anywhere in a foundational document. The only place where the so-called 'wall of separation' was mentioned was in a letter written by Jefferson to a friend. That's the only place. It has been picked up and made to be something it was never intended to be. What it has become is that the government is protected from the church, instead of the other way around, which is that church was designed to be protected from the government."

Before breaking for a commercial, King added, "I'm going to check my history."

In an entry on Americans United's blog "The Wall of Separation," AU staffer Lauren Smith dissected dis·sect·ed  
adj.
1. Botany Divided into many deep, narrow segments: dissected leaves.

2. Geology Cut by irregular valleys and hills.

Adj. 1.
 Dobson's position--and explained why it is wrong.

Smith pointed out that the words "separation of church and state" are not in the Constitution, but added, "As Dr. Dobson correctly pointed out, the phrase comes from Jefferson's 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists where he assured the congregation that the American people An American people may be:
  • any nation or ethnic group of the Americas
  • see Demographics of North America
  • see Demographics of South America
, through the recently adopted First Amendment, had built a 'wall of separation between Church and State.'"

Continued Smith, "Just because the exact language is absent from the Constitution, however, does not mean the separation principle is an illusion. Several of our Constitution's fundamental principles appear nowhere in the text. Yet, we accept them because they explain what our democracy stands for.

"'A system of checks and balances' appears nowhere in the Constitution. 'Checks and balances' is our way of explaining what Articles I, II and HI set out to accomplish. They set up three separate, but equal branches of government (a phrase also nowhere to be found) that check the others' power."

Continued Smith, "Nowhere does the Constitution say the criminally accused have a 'right to a fair trial.' I doubt Dr. Dobson would argue the right is a farce because the exact language does not appear in the Bill of Rights. The 'right to a fair trial' actually explains at least thirteen separate rights or procedures that must be met to satisfy the 'right to a fair trial.'"

Smith also noted that the words "no taxation without representation" also do not appear in the Constitution, yet the concept is contained therein.

"The 'separation of church and state' is no different," Smith concluded. "It is a simple phrase that describes a very real constitutional principle. As Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black Hugo LaFayette Black (February 27, 1886–September 25, 1971) was an American politician and jurist. A member of the Democratic Party, Black represented the state of Alabama in the United States Senate from 1926 to 1937, and served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court  explained in one landmark church-state case, 'The constitutional prohibition against laws respecting an establishment of religion must at least mean that in this country it is no part of the business of government to' meddle med·dle  
intr.v. med·dled, med·dling, med·dles
1. To intrude into other people's affairs or business; interfere. See Synonyms at interfere.

2. To handle something idly or ignorantly; tamper.
 in religion. This is the 'separation of church and state' and our religious freedom depends on it."
COPYRIGHT 2007 Americans United for Separation of Church and State
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:PEOPLE & EVENTS
Publication:Church & State
Date:Jan 1, 2007
Words:640
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