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Old 07-02-2002, 07:48 PM   #1
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Thomas Jefferson on Separation of Church and State

The Danbury Baptist Association, concerned about religious liberty in the new nation wrote to President Thomas Jefferson, Oct. 7, 1801.

Sir, Among the many millions in America and Europe who rejoice in your Election to office; we embrace the first opportunity which we have enjoyd in our collective capacity, since your Inauguration, to express our great satisfaction, in your appointment to the chief Majestracy in the United States; And though our mode of expression may be less courtly and pompious than what many others clothe their addresses with, we beg you, Sir to believe, that none are more sincere.

Our Sentiments are uniformly on the side of Religious Liberty -- That Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals -- That no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious Opinions - That the legitimate Power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor: But Sir our constitution of government is not specific. Our ancient charter together with the Laws made coincident therewith, were adopted on the Basis of our government, at the time of our revolution; and such had been our Laws & usages, and such still are; that Religion is considered as the first object of Legislation; and therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the State) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights: and these favors we receive at the expense of such degrading acknowledgements, as are inconsistent with the rights of freemen. It is not to be wondered at therefore; if those, who seek after power & gain under the pretense of government & Religion should reproach their fellow men -- should reproach their chief Magistrate, as an enemy of religion Law & good order because he will not, dare not assume the prerogatives of Jehovah and make Laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ.

Sir, we are sensible that the President of the United States, is not the national legislator, and also sensible that the national government cannot destroy the Laws of each State; but our hopes are strong that the sentiments of our beloved President, which have had such genial affect already, like the radiant beams of the Sun, will shine and prevail through all these States and all the world till Hierarchy and Tyranny be destroyed from the Earth. Sir, when we reflect on your past services, and see a glow of philanthropy and good will shining forth in a course of more than thirty years we have reason to believe that America's God has raised you up to fill the chair of State out of that good will which he bears to the Millions which you preside over. May God strengthen you for the arduous task which providence & the voice of the people have cald you to sustain and support you in your Administration against all the predetermined opposition of those who wish to rise to wealth & importance on the poverty and subjection of the people.

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.

Signed in behalf of the Association.

Nehh Dodge
Ephram Robbins The Committee
Stephen S. Nelson




Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut were persecuted because they were not part of the Congretationalist establishment in that state.

On January 1, 1802, in response to the letter from the Danbury Baptist Association, Thomas Jefferson wrote:

Gentlemen:

The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which are so good to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God; that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship; that the legislative powers of the government reach actions only, and 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 and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore man to all of his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessings of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem.

Thomas Jefferson

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Old 07-02-2002, 07:51 PM   #2
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Thomas Jefferson:

"I have examined all the known superstitions of the word, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth."

SIX HISTORIC AMERICANS,
by John E. Remsburg, letter to William Short

Jefferson again:

"Christianity...(has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on man. ...Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and importers led by Paul, the first great corrupter of the teaching of Jesus."

More Jefferson:

"The clergy converted the simple teachings of Jesus into an engine for enslaving mankind and adulterated by artificial constructions into a contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves...these clergy, in fact, constitute the real Anti-Christ.
Jefferson's word for the Bible? "Dunghill."

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Old 07-02-2002, 07:52 PM   #3
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John Adams on Christianity:

"Where do we find a precept in the Bible for Creeds, Confessions, Doctrines and Oaths, and whole carloads of other trumpery that we find religion encumbered with in these days?"

Also Adams:

"The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity."

Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli. Article 11 states:

"The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion."

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Old 07-02-2002, 07:54 PM   #4
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Here's Thomas Paine, famous American Revolutionary writer:

"I would not dare to so dishonor my Creator God by attaching His name to that book (the Bible)."

"Among the most detestable villains in history, you could not find one worse than Moses. Here is an order, attributed to 'God' to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers and to debauch and rape the daughters. I would not dare so dishonor my Creator's name by (attaching) it to this filthy book (the Bible)."

"It is the duty of every true Deist [belief in a god who created the world, but is now distant; also the religion of Jefferson] to vindicate the moral justice of God against the evils of the Bible."

"Accustom a people to believe that priests and clergy can forgive sins...and you will have sins in abundance."

And; "The Christian church has set up a religion of pomp and revenue in pretended imitation of a person (Jesus) who lived a life of poverty.

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Old 07-02-2002, 07:56 PM   #5
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Here's James Madison, fourth President of the U.S. and writer of the Constitution:

"What influence in fact have Christian ecclesiastical establishments had on civil society? In many instances they have been upholding the thrones of political tyranny. In no instance have they been seen as the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty have found in the clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate liberty, does not need the clergy."

Madison objected to state-supported chaplains in Congress and to the exemption of churches from taxation. He wrote:

"Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together."

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Old 07-02-2002, 07:58 PM   #6
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So where did the idea of "one nation, under God" come from?

These founding fathers were a reflection of the American population. Having escaped from the state-established religions of Europe, only 7% of the people in the 13 colonies belonged to a church when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Among those who confuse Christianity with the founding of America, the rise of conservative Baptists is one of the more interesting developments. The Baptists believed God's authority came from the people, not the priesthood, and they had been persecuted for this belief. It was they - the Baptists - who were instrumental in securing the separation of church and state. They knew you can not have a "one-way wall" that lets religion into government but that does not let it out. They knew no religion is capable of handling political power without becoming corrupted by it. And, perhaps, they knew it was Christ himself who first proposed the separation of church and state: "Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto the Lord that which is the Lord's."

In the last five years the Baptists have been taken over by a fundamentalist faction that insists authority comes from the Bible and that the individual must accept the interpretation of the Bible from a higher authority. These usurpers of the Baptist faith are those who insist they should meddle in the affairs of the government and it is they who insist the government should meddle in the beliefs of individuals.

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Old 07-02-2002, 08:18 PM   #7
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Good luck. I posted some of these in the pledge thread and not one person had any comments--or at least they hadn't when I stopped reading that thread. I thought it would spark pages and pages of lively discussion, but nada.
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Old 07-02-2002, 08:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by joyfulgirl
Good luck. I posted some of these in the pledge thread and not one person had any comments--or at least they hadn't when I stopped reading that thread. I thought it would spark pages and pages of lively discussion, but nada.
Sometimes, you need to beat people over the head with the truth. Of course, that doesn't mean that they'll listen.

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Old 07-02-2002, 09:50 PM   #9
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Melon,

Sometimes I think you go too far. Most of our conservative posters find comfort in their reconstructed history. The fact that it is flat out wrong matters less to them, than their need to believe this false history.

If they are smart they will bury their heads in the sand, until this thread falls off the first page. They might get angry and lash out at you. Or we could get the reply where they cut and paste your post, followed by a page and one half rebuttals that make little sense to anyone. But give the author a sense of satisfaction that he is right. All rights come from God, blah, blah, more nonsense.

Good post, Melon.

Chain.
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Old 07-02-2002, 10:25 PM   #10
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chain is right Melon

I am sorry folks, all two or three of you, but this is just way too intense right now for my abcessed brain.

Please let me go and stick my head back in the sand please now.
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Old 07-02-2002, 10:31 PM   #11
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A few things:

-The last sentence in Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Association ("I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessings of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem") is obviously not a Deist sentiment. But then again, we all know Jefferson was a intriguing figure, a man of many self-contradictions.

-James Madison evidently never heard of the Quakers.

-Nothing in any of the documents above refutes the statement that the protection of individual liberties is a precept of natural law (i.e., law that reflects an objective conception of what is good and what is not). The vast majority of Americans today would probably ascribe the content of natural law to God and not some "universal moral code" floating in space, and I suspect that most of the Americans who lived in revolutionary times would agree, whether they were formal church members or not.
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Old 07-02-2002, 10:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by chain
Melon,

Sometimes I think you go too far. Most of our conservative posters find comfort in their reconstructed history. The fact that it is flat out wrong matters less to them, than their need to believe this false history.

If they are smart they will bury their heads in the sand, until this thread falls off the first page. They might get angry and lash out at you. Or we could get the reply where they cut and paste your post, followed by a page and one half rebuttals that make little sense to anyone. But give the author a sense of satisfaction that he is right. All rights come from God, blah, blah, more nonsense.

Good post, Melon.

Chain.
And it was a good post by Melon, aside from the unnecessary cheap shot at the end.

And the content of your post is...?
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Old 07-03-2002, 12:01 AM   #13
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Nothing in the above references says that GOD=church or religion. The vast majority of Americans today feel that GOD does not = Church or religion. The Pledge will continue to have "Under GOD" apart of it.
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Old 07-03-2002, 02:47 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by chain
Melon,

Sometimes I think you go too far. Most of our conservative posters find comfort in their reconstructed history. The fact that it is flat out wrong matters less to them, than their need to believe this false history.

If they are smart they will bury their heads in the sand, until this thread falls off the first page. They might get angry and lash out at you. Or we could get the reply where they cut and paste your post, followed by a page and one half rebuttals that make little sense to anyone. But give the author a sense of satisfaction that he is right. All rights come from God, blah, blah, more nonsense.

Good post, Melon.

Chain.
You know, I just looked through the thread on the court decision concerning the pledge, and you know what what? I can't seem to find your rebuttal of that "All rights come from God, blah, blah, more nonsense."

IN FACT, I can't seem to find a SINGLE post of yours in that thread, chain. I suppose I just missed your replies, the result of having my head in the sand, naturally.

You know where that "head in the sand" imagery comes from? The ostrich, an ugly, flightless bird. I would like to raise the spectre of another flightless bird: the CHICKEN.

As in, only a CHICKEN would criticize a "reply where they cut and paste your post, followed by a page and one half rebuttals that make little sense to anyone" and ABSTAIN from actually engaging the rebuttal.

Only a CHICKEN would call the idea that rights are God-given "nonsense," do so without a SINGLE argument, and do so in a thread other than in where the argument was mentioned.

Only a CHICKEN would make sidelong comments about somebody else's posts, and do so without the bravery of making the observation within the appropriate thread or naming names.

But, surely, you're more straight-forward than to do that, aren't you?

Come on. Come out and play.

Come to the pledge thread. Show me how you can derive human rights from the natural universe. Show me that the Founding Fathers were largely atheists, or at least agnostics. Show me how the "under God" clause violates the meaning or the intent of the Constitution.

Show me who's my intellectual superior.

Bubba
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Old 07-03-2002, 04:48 AM   #15
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What else can we come to expect from Melon!? I've been reading this forum for a long time and his posts are always predictable. He has claimed in the past that he can't be characterized with political labels, but he is such a disgustingly kneejerk liberal that it's almost laughable. I wish the history of this form could be accessed (from a while ago) because I could easily quote Melon as saying that he will no longer post political messages here anymore. The fact that he can't even keep to his promises speaks volumes about his character. He'll claim that he's a conservative in some issues, but those of us (who don't have a liberal bias) with experience reading his posts know that he constantly tries to incite conservatives with something procative so he can insult them.

"Sometimes, you need to beat people over the head with the truth" - Melon
Frankly I'm pretty sick of his arrogance and rudeness, so I felt it was time for me to reciprocate.
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