ABC News’ Devin Dwyer reports: For at least the third time during the 2010 campaign, a Tea Party-backed U.S. Senate candidate is drawing fire from his Democratic opponents for publicly opposing a rigid separation of church and state.
“I disagree strongly with the concept of a separation of church and state,” Colorado Republican Ken Buck said at a senatorial candidate forum last year. The liberal blog Think Progress resurfaced the comments and posted a video HERE .
“It was not written into the Constitution,” Buck says of separation. “While we have a Constitution that is very strong in the sense that we are not going to have a religion that's sanctioned by the government, it doesn't mean that we need to have a separation between government and religion. And so that, that concerns me a great deal.”
Buck has advocated for a closer relationship between faith-based groups and government, telling a group of Tea Party members in July that secularism in the U.S. is a “very scary concept” and that “the key to a democracy is that we have a public ethic, that we have a public morality.”
Buck’s view of the constitutionally-permissible relationship between religion and government is shared by many conservative Constitutional scholars and other Tea Party candidates, including Sharron Angle of Nevada and Christine O’Donnell of Delaware.
The First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." But it does not specifically state that there should be a "separation of church and state" as has been popularly construed.
In recent years, the Supreme Court has moved away from the idea that the Constitution forbids all religious involvement in policymaking and government social programs, but the issue remains a point of debate.