A Wall of Separation - August 2013
Aug 03, 2013 | 1739 views | 2 2 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Shortly after becoming president, Thomas Jefferson received a letter from the Danbury BaptistAssociation: Our sentiments are uniformly on the side of religious liberty: that Religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals…”

Jefferson responded: “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.”  -Thomas Jefferson

Some say Jefferson’s response is a directive to prohibit religion on public property.  The First Amendment, however, declared Congress can neither force nor forbid religion.  Religion is separate and independent of the federal government.  Jefferson also supported churches using public buildings: “In our village of Charlottesville… We have four sects, but without either church or meeting-house.  The court-house is the common temple, one Sunday in the month to each.”  -Thomas Jefferson

“In matters of religion, I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the constitution independent of the powers of the general government. I have… left them, as the constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of state or church authorities…”  -Thomas Jefferson

James Still, JamesStill@RetraceOurSteps.com

“… my views of [Christianity]… are the result of a life of inquiry & reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions.”  -Thomas Jefferson

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Patrick Lee
August 05, 2013
Jefferson has much to say about religion and that pesky wall. Read it on his blog.

Several times each week, he posts briefly on a variety of topics, including religion.

Recent posts include:

- Can an honest man be a dishonest politician?

- What do maple trees have to do with slavery?

- Did Jefferson oppose Islam?

- Rebellion, liberty, blood & manure!

- Luxury, drinking & whores! Oh my!

Read the blog at http://ThomasJeffersonLeadership.com/blog/

Max T. Furr
August 05, 2013
I do not believe that Jefferson foresaw our present day situation, and I am convinced that he would now, where he alive, agree with the courts.

How many people do you think would be fine with Muslims erecting a monument on a courthouse lawn beside a Ten Commandments monument? How long do you think that monument to Islam would remain on that lawn?

How many people would be fine with a Muslim prayer over a school sound system?

This is why the government (local, state, and federal) must remain neutral to religion by denying any one religion the chance to dominate over others. The government must deny all religions access to government property because the religion dominant in any one area would dominate at the expense of others.

Best, then, to leave religion to the houses of worship and disallow any religion on public property. Besides, there are good citizens who aren't religious and they have every right religious folks have because they pay taxes for the support of that property and government, and to erect a monument or plaque on public property sends a message of government endorsement.

If a religious sect were to place a monument on public property that tends to advance their religion, then atheists have the right to place a monument beside it to advance their beliefs.

Such actions would seriously divide communities, disrupt schools and may even promote violence.

Best to leave religion off and out of public property.