Christine O’Donnell’s questioning of her opponent on the phrasing of the First Amendment and the separation of church and state have gotten a lot of attention. Explore this important debate with these free Bill of Rights Institute materials: First Amendment Principles and Jefferson’s “Wall” .

Less attention has been paid to the fact that her opponent refused to name the five freedoms of the First Amendment when challenged to do so by O’Donnell. 

It is crucial that our elected officials and citizens know how the Constitution protects our rights of free speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, freedom to petition and freedom peaceably to assemble. If not, we are in danger of losing those freedoms. What would life be like if any of these freedoms were forgotten? Go to the Bill of Rights Institute’s activity, Life without the Bill of Rights.

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3 Responses to “Christine O’Donnell and the First Amendment”

  1. Nina Kohl says:

    In your defense of Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell, you give the mistaken impression that O’Donnell is more knowledgeable about our First Amendment freedoms than her opponent, Chris Coons, a Yale Law grad. Is that really a good civics lesson? Because David and Charles Koch, who fund the Bill of Rights Institute, have come under so much criticism for allegedly funding the Tea Party movement, questions of bias are a concern. As we all know, civics programs are desperately needed, and I applaud efforts to provide them – I just hope you’ll be careful to provide civics programs that educate instead of indoctrinate.

  2. The Bill of Rights Institute says:

    Thank you for your interest in this issue. We do not endorse any political candidates. In this debate, there was a troubling lack of civic knowledge displayed. It’s our mission at the Bill of Rights Institute to provide non-partisan resources to help enhance knowledge of our Constitution and the liberties it guarantees.

    We hope teachers found our lesson on The First Amendment and religous liberty to be useful resources in their classrooms.

    • Nina Kohl says:

      Thank you for adding links from the Wall Street Journal, etc., to your post. I think they give a fuller, more accurate picture of what happened in the debate. I appreciate your making the effort to provide unbiased, non-partisan information. I watched the entire fascinating debate, and for those who are interested, here’s the debate in full:

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