Buck tries, fails to clarify church-state line

BUCK TRIES, FAILS TO CLARIFY CHURCH-STATE LINE…. We learned this week that extremist Senate candidate Ken Buck (R) has told Colorado voters, “I disagree strongly with the concept of separation of church and state. It was not written into the Constitution.” He added that the very idea “concerns me a great deal.”

As a substantive matter, Buck had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. This week, the right-wing candidate appeared on CNN to try to clarify matters. He failed.

First Buck said his comments were “taken out of context.” That was untrue. Then he said church-state separation had gone too far, but cited a scenario that’s also wrong.

“My problem isn’t with separation of church and state. It is with how far we have gone in that area. I think when you have a soup kitchen for example that is run by the Salvation Army which has religious ties in town and you have another soup kitchen in town which is purely secular. For the federal government to give one organization money but not the other because one has ties with a religious group is wrong.

“The idea is that we need to have compassionate programs for people. And if religious organizations are performing some of those functions without proselytizing then I think the federal government should include both.”

This is what happens when confused, far-right politicians talk about subjects they don’t understand.

In Buck’s mind, the separation of church and state is a problem if it prevents non-proselytizing, faith-based groups from receiving public funds to provide social services. But Buck neglected to do his homework and get his facts straight — non-proselytizing, faith-based groups receive public funds to provide social services all the time.

This isn’t even new. For years, the Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, Lutheran Social Services, and a wide variety of religious groups have sought and received public funds to run soup kitchens, host homeless shelters, etc. This has been the status quo for decades.

In other words, Buck’s example of excessive church-state separation is exactly backwards — the very scenario he believes should exist already exists. The CNN interviewer wasn’t aware of this, so there was no pushback.

So, we’re left with the same question. Ken Buck, in his own words, “strongly disagrees” with the very concept of separation of church and state. Can he explain why?