As America celebrates its birthday on July 4, the timeless words of Thomas Jefferson will surely be invoked to remind us of our founding ideals — that “All men are created equal” and are “endowed by their Creator” with the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These phrases, a cherished part of our history, have rightly been called “American Scripture.”
But Jefferson penned another phrase, arguably his most famous after those from the Declaration of Independence. These far more contentious words — “a wall of separation between church and state” — lie at the heart of the ongoing debate between those who see America as a “Christian Nation” and those who see it as a secular republic, a debate that is hotter than a Washington Fourth of July…
While president in 1802, Jefferson wrote: “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 legitimate powers of 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 … ”
The idea was not Jefferson’s. Other 17th- and 18th-century Enlightenment writers had used a variant of it. Earlier still, religious dissident Roger Williams had written in a 1644 letter of a “hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world.”
Williams, who founded Rhode Island with a colonial charter that included religious freedom, knew intolerance firsthand. He and other religious dissenters, including Anne Hutchinson, had been banished from neighboring Massachusetts, the “shining city on a hill” where Catholics, Quakers and Baptists were banned under penalty of death.
Jefferson regarded this law so highly that he had his authorship of the statute made part of his epitaph, along with writing the Declaration and founding the University of Virginia. (Being president wasn’t worth a mention.)
RTFA. Re-examine the history that most Americans sorely have not understood – for the first time.
Christian revisionists of American history absolutely understand they are lying to support their ideology, they absolutely recognize their actions as counter to the spirit of history as understood by the Founding Fathers and Mothers – and they don’t care.
They assume their religious ideology supersedes the achievements of our Constitution and would rather return to the religious wars of the Crusades in exactly the same way their counterparts on the fringe of Islam would do. They are equally bereft of understanding, deserving of as little support and coddling as any poison in the gut of this modern world.