Letter: Founders’ intent on religion
Our Constitution is written specifically to guarantee both freedom of religion as well as freedom from religion. Republican/conservative insistence that the founders intended to mandate a belief in God or Christianity as the national religion, like the rest of their “not dictated by fact-checkers” information, is the antithesis of the founders’ intent. And as A. Simon provides no references for his “quotes,” we can disregard them based on this one actual quote from Jefferson to Mrs. M. Harrison Smith, Aug. 6, 1816. It specifically addresses the idea of the founders advocating religious doctrine. Jefferson is clear and profuse in this regard.
“I never told my own religion, nor scrutinized that of another. I never attempted to make a convert, nor wished to change another’s creed. I have ever judged of the religion of others by their lives … For it is in our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be read. But this does not satisfy the priesthood. They must have a positive, a declared assent to all their interested absurdities. My opinion is that there never would have been an infidel if there had never been a priest. The artificial structures they have built on the purest of moral systems, for the purpose of deriving from it pence and power, revolt those who think for themselves, and who read in that system only what is really there. These, therefore, they brand with such nicknames as their enmity chooses gratuitously to impute.”
As far as this relates to Kim Davis, she wasn’t jailed for practicing her religion, she was jailed for using her government-held position of authority to force her religious beliefs onto others, which is what our founders fought to protect us against, and therefore wisely made it manifest in our Constitution. And in this case, where the difference lies. I guess some things never change.
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