Tag Archives: religion

Free Exercise – Within Reason

Thomas Jefferson was the author of religious freedom in America… as the First Amendment borrows its language from his Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom.  Like all men of the Enlightenment, Jefferson believed it was built upon the individual.  The individual was born free to worship, or not, in anyway he saw fit.

“…nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.”

Author of Religious Freedom

Jefferson clearly draws the line between the public citizen and his private religious beliefs… the freedom to worship remained a private decision- not to be propagated in the public sphere.  Jefferson acknowledged the dangers of a state-sponsored religion, but he also realized that religious zealotry could threaten civil liberties.

 

He cautioned his friend, James Madison:

“The declaration that religious faith shall be unpunished does not give immunity to criminal acts dictated by religious error.”

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Picking Pockets and Breaking Legs

How strange it is to hear evangelicals… claim Thomas Jefferson as one of their own, when in his day, he was accused of being an infidel by the Christian clergy.  Jefferson left little doubt about his religious beliefs in his voluminous personal papers.  It is his place in our history and especially our founding that drives advocates of all stripes to want Jefferson’s opinion on their side.  We must remember, Jefferson was not an atheist, far from it; he believed in personal religious freedom and public restraint.  Jefferson did advocate the separation of church and state,

The Devil found a Friend in Government

“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 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.”     Jan. 1, 1802

It was the public attacks on his beliefs… that prompted Jefferson to write Virginia’s Statute of Religious Freedom in 1786.  It is a simple proposition, letting your neighbor worship as they wish, even if that means not worshiping at all.  Jefferson said it best,

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”    Notes on the State of Virginia 1782

Eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man

Jefferson was fascinated by theology… and could talk about it for hours on end.  A deeply personal project was the Jefferson Bible.  He analyzed the New Testament and removed what he considered to be “so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture” along with any mention of miracles or the supernatural (always the scientist.)  Jefferson was interested in the moral philosophy of Jesus.  The Enlightenment taught Jefferson to seek the rational path to moral clarity.

You don’t have to look very hard to learn… about Jefferson’s religious beliefs.  They are found in his personal papers and private correspondence.  This is the essence of Jeffersonian religion–keep it to yourself.

“Our particular principles of  religion are a subject of accountability to God alone. I inquire after no man’s, and  trouble none with mine.”

Scientist, farmer, lawyer, theologian….

 

 

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Picking Pockets and Breaking Legs

How strange it is to hear evangelicals… claim Thomas Jefferson as one of their own, when in his day, he was accused of being an infidel by the Christian clergy.  Jefferson left little doubt about his religious beliefs in his voluminous personal papers.  It is his place in our history and especially our founding that drives advocates of all stripes to want Jefferson’s opinion on their side.  We must remember, Jefferson was not an atheist, far from it; he believed in personal religious freedom and public restraint.  Jefferson did advocate the separation of church and state,

The Devil found a Friend in Government

“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 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.”     Jan. 1, 1802

It was the public attacks on his beliefs… that prompted Jefferson to write Virginia’s Statute of Religious Freedom in 1786.  It is a simple proposition, letting your neighbor worship as they wish, even if that means not worshiping at all.  Jefferson said it best,

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”    Notes on the State of Virginia 1782

Eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man

Jefferson was fascinated by theology… and could talk about it for hours on end.  A deeply personal project was the Jefferson Bible.  He analyzed the New Testament and removed what he considered to be “so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture” along with any mention of miracles or the supernatural (always the scientist.)  Jefferson was interested in the moral philosophy of Jesus.  The Enlightenment taught Jefferson to seek the rational path to moral clarity.

You don’t have to look very hard to learn… about Jefferson’s religious beliefs.  They are found in his personal papers and private correspondence.  This is the essence of Jeffersonian religion–keep it to yourself.

“Our particular principles of  religion are a subject of accountability to God alone. I inquire after no man’s, and  trouble none with mine.”

Scientist, farmer, lawyer, theologian….

 

 

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For the Record

Jefferson was fascinated by theology… and could talk about it for hours on end.  A deeply personal project was the Jefferson Bible.  He analyzed the New Testament and removed what he considered to be “so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture” along with any mention of miracles or the supernatural (always the scientist.)  Jefferson was interested in the moral philosophy of Jesus.  The Enlightenment taught Jefferson to seek the rational path to moral clarity.

“Our particular principles of religion are a subject of accountability to God alone. I inquire after no man’s, and trouble none with mine.”

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbour to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”    Notes on the State of Virginia 1782

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Weekly History News Roundup

Was Jesus really married?… scientist determine gospel of his wife not a forgery

 

101 year old message in bottle deliveredgranddaughter receives message found on the Baltic

 

LBJ conference provides new perspectivesthree former Presidents attend the opening ceremonies

 

Jim DeMint should visit this blog more often… Senator makes some curious remarks about history

 

PBS to air documentary on western theater of Civil War… Elizabeth McGovern narrates 5 part series filmed at National Battlefields

Nothing like the Johnson treatment

Nothing like the Johnson treatment

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Blowing off his Toes

Jack Kennedy makes Rick Santorum want to vomit… and he is too blinded by his faith to see how foolish he is.  The speech which so repulses Santourm is the very pronouncement that made it possible for Catholics like him to seek public office.

Judging is inane comments, “it (the speech) makes me want to throw up…“[He says] ‘I will have nothing to do with faith. I won’t consult with people of faith,”   Santorum is only familiar with the first words Kennedy used.  His profound ignorance should bring his ill-conceived campaign to a close.

Where he belongs

Kennedy did proclaim his belief in the separation of church and state… in his speech to the Southern Baptist Convention in 1960.  At no time did Kennedy claim that only secular politicians should be President,  “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president, should he be Catholic, how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote, where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference, and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.”

What Kennedy actually said, Rick… was that there is no religious test in American politics (Article 6 in case you were wondering.)  Worries amongst Protestants about Papal interference in American policy were ridiculous, and Kennedy was grateful for that fact.  Religious people can hold public office, but their churches have no right to tell them how to govern.   Somebody get Rick a bucket…..

He doesn't have a prayer....JFK gives up on Rick

 

 

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Mr. Madison has the Answer

Barack Obama doesn’t attend church very often… and this seems to bother some in the country.  In 2012, it seems some Americans demand a christian President.  The thought of Obama being a muslim terrifies smaller numbers of undereducated people on the right.  Fox News Channel feeds the frenzy by observing Obama’s seeming lack of faith on all the high christian holidays,

Isn't he a muslim?

“By comparison, the White House has released statements recognizing the observance of major Muslim holidays and released statements in 2010 on Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj, and Eid-ul-Adha.  The White House  . . . did release an eight-paragraph statement heralding Earth Day. Likewise, the president’s weekend address mentioned neither Good Friday or Easter.”

“In 2010, Obama was criticized for releasing an all-inclusive Easter greeting. He reached out to Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and people of no faith at all in a statement about a holiday that is uniquely Christian”

 

We have a blueprint to help solve quandaries such as this… and it’s called the Constitution.  James Madison addressed just this issue in the most overlooked portion of the great document, Article 6–

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

Strongly guarded is the separation between religion and government in the Constitution of the United States

Can we truly say we are treating our President fairly… are influential parts of our society putting the elected executive to an unconstitutional religious test?

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