(The Hill) — Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) says she is “tired” of the longstanding separation between church and state in the U.S., adding that she believes “the church is supposed to direct the government.”
In a Sunday speech at the Cornerstone Christian Center in Basalt, Colo., ahead of her primary election on Tuesday, Boebert argued that “the government is not supposed to direct the church,” falsely claiming that dividing religion from the system of government was not what the Founding Fathers intended.
“I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk — that’s not in the constitution. It was in a stinking letter and it means nothing like they say it does,” Boebert said, earning a round of applause from the audience.
Boebert faces a GOP primary challenge from state Sen. Don Coram in Colorado’s 3rd District but has far outraised her opponent in the campaign and is expected to triumph on Tuesday, according to the election watcher FiveThirtyEight.
The concept of a separation between church and state is derived from the establishment clause in the Bill of Rights, which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
Roger Williams, who founded Rhode Island, was the first to decipher the clause as “a wall or hedge of separation” between the “wilderness of the world” and “the garden of the church.”
In 1802, then-President Thomas Jefferson penned a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut, in which he wrote the American public had built “a wall of separation between Church and State.”
States have long adhered to the principle since Jefferson’s letter. The Supreme Court applied the clause to states with the 14th Amendment and has used the doctrine to uphold such a wall.
However, the current high court, which has a conservative majority, has recently ruled increasingly in support of religion in public spaces.
The Supreme Court this month struck down a Maine policy that prohibited religious schools from receiving taxpayer-funded tuition aid and ruled in favor of a football coach in Washington state who prayed at the 50-yard line after public school games.
Conservative justices also ruled in May that the city of Boston violated the Constitution by declining a request from a religious organization to fly its flag at city hall.
After the Maine ruling, liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the court “continues to dismantle the wall of separation between church and state that the Framers fought to build.”
“In just a few years, the Court has upended constitutional doctrine,” the justice wrote in her dissenting opinion.
Boebert, who has drawn controversy since winning election in 2020 as a far-right conservative with hardlined views on abortion, guns and immigration, argued instead that the church has become subject to the government.
“The reason we had so many overreaching regulations is because the church complied,” she said. “The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our founding fathers intended it.”