Biden on Separation of Church and State
He suggests that we look at "every state where that wall is not built. Look at every country in the world where religion is able to impact on the governance. Almost every one of those countries, there's real turmoil."
Taken literally, the "impact" part describes all countries, including the U.S.; there is nothing in American law that prevents a voter from voting for or against a candidate or measure on the basis of the voter's religion. But suppose we take "that wall is not built" to mean, as the context of the answer suggests, countries where there is no legal principle of the separation of church and state. Perhaps I missed it, but where is the turmoil in England, where Anglicanism was the established religion when the Constitution was written and still is? In Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Lichtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Vatican City and parts of Switzerland where Catholicism is the established religion? In Denmark, Norway and Iceland where Lutheranism is the established church? In Greece where the official church is Eastern Orthodox?
It isn't surprising that Biden doesn't know about the established churches in Scandinavia, although that England has an established church is hardly an obscure historical fact. What strikes me here, as with the FDR comment he made earlier, is the impression that, faced with the need for facts to support his current argument, he simply invents them. He was presumably thinking of Muslim countries, which do not, with the notable exception of Turkey, have any principle of separation of church and state. But his argument required that almost all other countries follow the U.S. pattern, so he simply assumed it. That's a little disturbing—and reminds me a bit of Bush.
Fortunately, Obama is young and in good health.