Alan Keyes Equates Church-State Separation with Eating Boogers

Alan Keyes might be the most entertaining man ever to run for president. Always running on the fringes of what is already a very fringe-y GOP, he never ekes out more support than the what could be confused for the margin of error, but he instills a fervency of devotion from those who have gone cuckoo for Keyes.

Ambassador Keyes (and yes, he was Reagan’s Ambassador to the UN Economic and Social Council) recently spoke at an event at Spring Arbor University in Michigan and did not fail to bring the crazy, saying that the United States was near death, because we are currently violating “the premise of the existence of our country as a political entity.” The premise, of course, is that God Did It.

Here’s the report from MLive:

Keyes said while abortion, same-sex marriage and separation of church and state are not basic human rights there are leaders who are trying to “fabricate” rights.

“People who sit on the U.S. Supreme Court take it among themselves to argue that somehow there should be separation of church and state,” he said. “Nothing in the Constitution requires separation, nor could it because we cannot separate the country from its finding premise without destroying it.”

When arguing what a fundamental right actually is, Keyes gave an offbeat example of a young child who had a habit of “picking in their nostrils and “eating what came out.”

No, really, he said that. The implication was that just because you feel like doing something doesn’t make it right.

And this kind of frantic hyperbole is nothing new for Keyes. Only days ago, he reminded folks of his existence by calling Sen. Rob Portman‘s support of gay marriage a “crime against humanity” because:

If you go down a road that satisfies your personal predilections and relationships and sacrifices the common good of the country, including the elementary institution by which civilization is sustained, then you’re not only derelict in your public duty, you are abandoning your obligation as a human being.

Sounds legit.

About Paul Fidalgo

Paul is communications director for the Center for Inquiry, as well as an actor and musician. His blog is iMortal, and he tweets as @paulfidalgo, and the blog tweets as @iMortal_blog.
The opinions expressed on this blog are personal to Paul and do not necessarily represent the views of the Center for Inquiry.

  • Coraulten

    Would rather have my finger up my nose, than my head up my ass.

  • Theseus

    They ( Christian fundie candidates ) are so flippin’ vague and selective about this stuff when they get on a soap box.

    Mr. Keyes, what exactly are you saying ? If you are saying that church and state shouldn’t be separate, what does that mean? Does that mean that state and local government can show favoritism to one particular religion over another and give them special rights? Why isn’t the Establishment Clause or freedom of religion enough for you?

    Thomas Jefferson is the one that coined the phrase “A wall of separation” between church and state. Are you saying that you disagree with him?

    I wish the media would nail down these nut jobs and and make them answer specifics.

  • Sven2547

    I’m always amused by this notion that marriage is somehow the cornerstone of civilization. I don’t remember any countries collapsing because they allowed no-fault divorce, for example. Civilization can do just fine without marriage, thank you very much.

  • Lucilius

    Well, I equate supporting Alan Keyes with eating boogers, so we’re even.

  • jdm8

    It bothers me that they expect a specific phrase in the US Constitution for it to cover the idea. You also won’t find “checks and balances” in there either, but it’s a helpful summary of how the three branches of government are intended to interact with each other.

  • flakingnapstich

    Does that mean Alan Keyes thinks C.S. Lewis eats boogers?

    “I am a democrat because I believe that no man
    or group of men is good enough to be trusted with uncontrolled power
    over others. And the higher the pretensions of such power, the more
    dangerous I think it both to rulers and to the subjects. Hence Theocracy
    is the worst of all governments. If we must have a tyrant, a robber
    baron is far better than an inquisitor.
    The baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point may
    be sated; and since he dimly knows he is doing wrong he may possibly
    repent. But the inquisitor who mistakes his own cruelty and lust of
    power and fear for the voice of Heaven will torment us infinitely more
    because he torments us with the approval of his own conscience and his
    better impulses appear to him as temptations.

    “And since
    Theocracy is the worst, the nearer any government approaches to
    Theocracy the worse it will be. A metaphysic held by the rulers with the
    force of a religion, is a bad sign. It forbids them, like the
    inquisitor, to admit any grain of truth or good in their opponents, it
    abrogates the ordinary rules of morality, and it gives a seemingly high,
    super-personal sanction to all the very ordinary human passions by
    which, like other men, the rulers will frequently be actuated. In a
    word, it forbids wholesome doubt. A political programme can never in
    reality be more than probably right. We never know all the facts about
    the present and we can only guess the future. To attach to a party
    programme — whose highest claim is to reasonable prudence — the sort
    of assent which we should reserve for demonstrable theorems, is a kind
    of intoxication.”

    —C.S. Lewis

  • smrnda

    I would agree that a person is entitled to do what pleases them, and that society can legitimately place limitations on behaviors which endanger the public welfare. However, you have to kind of *prove* that a certain behavior is harmful. Dumping toxic waste into a river is harmful in an objective, easy to prove fashion.

    There is no evidence that gay marriage, or homosexuality, causes bad things to happen. Gay marriage is legal in many places and civilization didn’t grind to a halt in any of these places. So any argument that it’s going to be the downfall of the US is ridiculous and based on no facts whatsoever. I could make a far better case that tax breaks for rich people are bad. There’s at least some evidence of negative effects there. In fact I think a case can be made that religious fundamentalism is bad.

  • Max Bingman

    Booger eating, huh? Well, at least they’re trying something different. I was getting tired of hearing them talk about beastiality all the frickin time.

  • Theseus

    Yeah but the F-ed up thing is that the Establishment Clause DOES cover the idea. If the government (state, local, and federal) can’t establish a religion then that is clearly a separation of church and state.

    But yeah, I see what your saying. It doesn’t contain the exact wording “separation of church and state” so they want to pretend that means it doesn’t apply – even though that is what the Establishment clause clearly means. It’s willful ignorance.

  • liu

    This is the sort of thing that cannot simply be written off as ignorance; the only thing that could prompt someone to say things this stupid is pure, unadulterated stupidity.

  • Stev84

    They are trying to reverse the burden of proof on that. You could clearly see that during the Supreme Court hearings. And the conservative judges fully bought into it. They are demanding proof that same-sex marriage and adoptions aren’t harmful.

  • Rain

    Alan Keyes actually had a show on MSNBC for a while, believe it or not. I guess he’s a good talker, but ohhh the crazy, it burns.

  • randomfactor

    We owe a debt of thanks to Alan Keyes and Senator Jack Ryan, the two men most responsible for the election of Senator B.H. Obama.

  • baal

    “saying that the United States was near death,”

    So far as there is truth to this statement, I have to wonder how much it would help if wealth inequality weren’t so insane. 6 members of the walmat ruling family own as much wealth as some 93 million Americans (numbers not made up). Demand (people buying stuff) in the economy would help a lot.

  • baal

    Not paying taxes other the other hand…

  • randomfactor

    So I’m curious. He believes it’s a fundamental right to pick one’s nose. Did he come on this recognition of the right before, or after having children?

    I wonder what his lesbian daughter thinks about her right to happiness being equated to nasal secretions.

  • C Peterson

    I’m confused. You’re reporting this as if what Keyes is saying is somehow unusual or extraordinary. It doesn’t sound any different to me than what a healthy percentage of American politicians (especially those in the third world quadrant of the U.S.) say every day.

    Where’s the news here?

  • Chelsea Frost

    I really don’t get this guy. It wasn’t even 60 years ago that he wouldn’t have been able to marry a white woman.

  • Rob U

    And according to Wikipedia eating boogers might even be good for you.

  • roberthughmclean

    ‘Scus my ignorance but what is a booger? Is it like a Big Muck?

  • coyotenose

    Nope, it’s mucus.

    I Googled “Big Muck” and wish I hadn’t.

  • coyotenose

    Demand like gay couples buying engagement and wedding rings, suits, gowns and flowers, hiring caterers, renting halls…

    They can’t have a bunch of industries see a 3% boost from teh gheys though, that would be un-AMERican. :P

  • coyotenose

    Hell, you could make a better case that tax breaks for rich people are GOOD than that gay marriage is bad, and we have 30 years of well-documented evidence against the former.

  • coyotenose

    They didn’t buy into it. but rather had already made up their minds to reject all evidence and even their own rules of conduct. Hell, Scalia actually said a few months back that he couldn’t be convinced to rule in favor of equal marriage no matter what, which statement all by itself disqualifies him from his job.

  • coyotenose

    Exactly. There’s no mention of any right to privacy either, but courts do this thing, incomprehensible to ranting bigots, where they look at the logical consequences of a phrase, and the requirements for it to be enacted.

    The U.S. Constitution requires a national census, but it does not provide any means to fund or staff it or give it any powers to do its job. (It also doesn’t include the word “census”, Separation naysayers…) But those things are implied by the very fact of an enumeration of the population being required, so they were added to the U.S. Code.

    I’ve tried using that as analogy to explain why Separation exists, and have, literally, just gotten dumb looks and nuh-uhs in response. Oh, and a “Stupid liberal”. Ironic, that.

  • Theseus

    Of course. As I said above, just because the exact wording of a phrase isn’t spelled out that doesn’t mean the definition or meaning isn’t still there – as in the case of separation of church and state. If the Establishment Clause doesn’t mean separation of church and state, exactly what does it f******* mean then? A government promoting religion – particularly one religion over another – sounds like establishing something to me. Plus, as you say there are plenty of implications to go along with that as well.

  • stantak

    I wonder if Mr. Keyes is Booger curious?