Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What happened to separation of church and state?

Article on Thomas Jefferson

I just read an article about Rick Santorum's campaign, and one woman supporter said, "All our freedoms have come from people who believed in God," and used that as reason to support Santorum. Wow. First of all, what woman with a conscience and a mind can support him? Second, that statement is just dead wrong. I wish we could shout from the rooftops, "Do you wonder why our founding fathers wanted separation of church and state?"
Thomas Jefferson may have been the best mind of our founding fathers. Here's an excerpt from the article linked above in case you don't want to click and read the whole thing:

"Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear."[1] In Query XVII of Notes on the State of Virginia, he clearly outlines the views which led him to play a leading role in the campaign to separate church and state and which culminated in the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom: "The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. 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. ... Reason and free enquiry are the only effectual agents against error.[2] Jefferson's religious views became a major public issue during the bitter party conflict between Federalists and Republicans in the late 1790s when Jefferson was often accused of being an atheist.

He also rejected the idea of the divinity of Christ, but as he writes to William Short on October 31, 1819, he was convinced that the fragmentary teachings of Jesus constituted the "outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man."

What a far cry from candidates who believe they are trustworthy simply because they openly declare themselves "Christians."

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