Texas state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, thinks he’s somehow qualified to tell local school districts and teachers what instructional materials they can use in their classrooms, but he doesn’t have a very good understanding of the basics of American constitutional freedoms. Speaking at the Mims Baptist Church in Conroe this past weekend, the Houston Press reports, Patrick informed congregants:
“There is no separation of church and state. It was not in the constitution.”
That declaration is unlikely to persuade a U.S. Supreme Court that has issued numerous rulings upholding separation of church and state under the U.S. Constitution over the span of many decades. Moreover, 68 percent of likely Texas voters responding to a poll conducted for the TFN Education Fund in May 2010 agreed that “separation of church and state is a key principle of our Constitution.”
Of course, it’s hardly surprising that Sen. Patrick would say such a thing. He has already announced his campaign for lieutenant governor, and pandering to religious-right voters who also oppose separation of church and state seems like a natural strategy for him.