California Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell has the unfortunate habit of opening his mouth at exactly the wrong times.
In 2018, after Swalwell defended supporting a ban and non-voluntary federal buyback on so-called “assault weapons,” Joe Biggs, a former InfoWars staffer, tweeted that Swalwell “wants a war” and that he would never “give up my rights and give the gov all the power.”
Instead of ignoring him — as any elected official should safely do when faced with empty threats from those in Alex Jones’ orbit — Swalwell threatened to bring out the nuclear weapons: “And it would be a short war my friend,” he tweeted. “The government has nukes. Too many of them. But they’re legit. I’m sure if we talked we could find common ground to protect our families and communities.”
And it would be a short war my friend. The government has nukes. Too many of them. But they’re legit. I’m sure if we talked we could find common ground to protect our families and communities.
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) November 16, 2018
The only common ground I think they could find is that Swalwell should have shut up before said that. And yet, when Swalwell owed us an explanation, he stayed quiet: When links between Swalwell and an alleged spy known as Christine Fang and Fang Fang were first reported in 2020, the normally garrulous California lawmaker — a member of the House Intelligence Committee, it’s worth noting — refused to publicly say whether they had a sexual relationship.
Now, Swalwell is pretending he knows more about the Constitution than he actually does in an attempt to own GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — and he’s getting roasted on Twitter because of the self-own.
Last week, DeSantis was campaigning in Pennsylvania and Ohio for Republican candidates. In his remarks Friday, he talked about Florida’s successful campaign against critical race theory and wokeness in classrooms.
“We have a responsibility to make sure that the students that come out of our school system understand what it means to be an American. They need to understand that our rights come from God, not from the government,” he said.
.@GovRonDeSantis: “The purpose of our school system should be to educate our kids, not to indoctrinate our kids. […] We’re going to teach real history. We’re going to teach them the truth. […] They need to understand that our rights come from God, not from the government.” pic.twitter.com/hChtiC2Eh7
— The Hill (@thehill) August 21, 2022
In barged Swalwell, a lawyer, but the liberal kind of lawyer who confuses Democratic dogma with the contents of the Constitution: “It’s not like separation of church & state is in the Bill of Rights or anything …” he wrote in a quote tweet.
It’s not like separation of church & state is in the Bill of Rights or anything … https://t.co/mB9P0wFO2x
— Eric Swalwell (@ericswalwell) August 22, 2022
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt. Unless, of course, you’re a lawmaker who’s been credibly accused of coital relations with a Chinese spy. Then please do speak up, or resign.
As plenty of Twitter users noted, Swalwell once again proved he can’t do any of that right:
Ooooh would love for you to quote the exact line, sir
— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) August 22, 2022
Separation of church and state is in the Constitution the same way abortion rights are in the Constitution: NOWHERE.
— Jenna Ellis 🍊🦅 (@JennaEllisEsq) August 23, 2022
Hey @ericswalwell, here’s the whole Bill of Rights.
Find us the words “Separation of Church and State,” Eric. We’ll wait.. pic.twitter.com/iY2rjPYTtX
— American Virtue (@AmVirtueOrg) August 23, 2022
In case you’re similarly uneducated and are legitimately looking for it, it definitely isn’t anywhere in the Constitution.
The phrase “separation of church and state” comes from a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut, in 1802, in which then-President Jefferson stated he personally believed the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment established a “wall of separation” — if not perhaps the wall the left believes exists.
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State,” Jefferson wrote.
However, it’s also true that those words appear nowhere in the Bill of Rights (or anywhere else in the Constitution). It’s a good bet DeSantis picked up that knowledge somewhere along the way — like maybe when he was earning his law degree at Harvard Law.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that even Jefferson — whose religious beliefs were a bit kooky by the standards of the late 18th and early 19th centuries — acknowledged to the Danbury Baptist Association that “religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God,” not “between Man &, you know, whatever may or may not be up there or anything.”
He was also writing to a group that didn’t want freedom from religion, but rather freedom from a state-established church like the Church of England.
It’s a safe bet that the Danbury Baptists, if somehow transported into the 21st century via time travel, wouldn’t be lining up with the Freedom From Religion Foundation to throw a hissy-fit about the words “under God” being included in the Pledge of Allegiance when they ended their letter to Jefferson with this sentence: “And may the Lord preserve you safe from every evil and bring you at last to his Heavenly Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Glorious Mediator.”
Unitarian Universalists these weren’t.
Now, granted, this kind of nuance can’t be shoved into a 280-character tweet. “It’s not like separation of church & state is in the Bill of Rights or anything …” can be — but that doesn’t make it any less blatantly ignorant.
Lest we forget, this constitutional expert once wanted to be our president; he dropped out of the 2020 race after garnering almost zero support. Instead, the Democrats passed over someone who never learned where the phrase “wall of separation between church and state” originated for one who likely once knew where it came from but seems to have forgotten everything.
I’m not entirely sure how that’s preferable, but perhaps rank-and-file Democrats realized that nuking every recalcitrant AR-15 owner would leave America glowing for the next century or so.
The good news on that front is that, now that someone’s posted a handy version of the Bill of Rights for Swalwell to peruse, maybe he can sit down and read both the First and Second Amendments.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.