9. “I’m completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is … “

Status: No evidence of George Carlin ever saying this:

“I’m completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.”

This quote even managed to get picked for Wikiquote.com’s quote-of-the-day for December 3, 2003. Though back then, I don’t think quotes were sourced that well. It certainly doesn’t appear with a source on Wikiquote.com today.

Admittedly, this quotation at least sounds like something Carlin might have said. He did after all have rants about religion as well as the government. However, I can’t find this quotation on any of his albums, HBO specials, or books.

Searching around more, I found a reference going all the way back to 1997 (see link below), but it was just a newsletter for a secular organization showing a list of what they claimed to be compiled Carlin quotes, with no source for the quote in question. I don’t think his official website launched until later, which would make it doubtful that the quote was on his site at any time. In any case, I found another reference crediting George from July 1997, so presumably the newsletter people just went along with whatever they found on the internet.

I found a use of the quote (or something very close to it) in a letter published in the book “Ghana: Conversation And Development”, as part of a correspondence. But that wasn’t published until years later, so it’s likely that the writer was just plagiarizing the quote from somebody else.

This was one of many bogus quotes that was also up on IMDB.com, which is where some lobbying group on Facebook took it from, apparently taking it as authentic without question. IMDB is notorious for not having their quotes sourced. On top of that, a lot of their pages get copied on to other websites. I’ve since used my IMDB account to go through their list and add the source for genuine quotes, while marking the bogus ones for deletion.