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Thomas Jefferson's Letter To the Danbury Baptists
See how "progressives" have twisted Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists and also how Jefferson himself apparently violated what "progressives" attributed to him.
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"Separation of Church and State" is not in the Constitution! The First Amendment says just the opposite, and not only does Jefferson's letter to the Baptists (below) actually clarify this, but also Jefferson's own apparent violations of what progressives think he meant.
First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
The Big Lie of Progressives: There is no such law as the separation of church and state! This phrase does not appear in ANY founding document. It is not in the Constitution of the United States. It is however in the 'Constitution' of the former Soviet Union (Article 124 of the USSR Constitution - 1922-1991). Learn how progressives have twisted the intent of Jefferson's Letter to the Baptists....
Jefferson's Letter to the Baptists
Thomas Jefferson (in his oft miss-quoted dissertation on the subject) did NOT state that there was or should be such a separation, but that there was a "wall of separation" which the government could not breach. The misunderstood statement from Thomas Jefferson has resulted in Judges who ignore the Constitution and the original intent of the First Amendment of our Founding Fathers. Jefferson's statement was in a letter to a group of Baptists in Connecticut (January 1, 1802), who were concerned about the government breaching their religious freedom and the affairs of the Church. Jefferson in his letter stated exactly this:
"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."
Is not Jefferson saying the legislature can not favor a specific religion and it can not prohibit religious exercise? As he also stated: "No power over the freedom of religion is delegated to the United States by the Constitution."
In another letter the same Thomas Jefferson wrote: "I consider the government of the U.S. as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises." (letter to Samuel Miller, 23 January 1809) Reference: Jefferson Writings, Peterson, ed., 1186.
FBI Helps Restore Jefferson's Obliterated Draft By James Hutson - With the help of the FBI, the draft of the letter, including Jefferson's obliterated words, are now known. ...The Library requested the assistance of FBI Director Louis Freeh, who generously permitted the FBI Laboratory to apply its state-of-the-art technology to the task of restoring Jefferson's obliterated words. The FBI was successful, with the result that the entire draft of the Danbury Baptist letter is now legible (below). This fully legible copy will be seen in the exhibition in the company of its handwritten, edited companion draft. Click here to see Jefferson's unedited text. By examining both documents, viewers will be able to discern Jefferson's true intentions in writing the celebrated Danbury Baptist letter.
See how Thomas Jefferson himself apparently "violated" the "separation of church and state."
Background history that formed Jefferson's Letter to the Baptists
A Giant Block of Cheese and Separation of Church and State - American Minute
with Bill Federer JAN. 1
January 1, 1802, the people of Cheshire, Massachusetts, sent a giant block of cheese to President Thomas Jefferson, being presented by the famous Baptist preacher, John Leland. John Leland was then invited to preach to the U.S. Congress and the President in the Capitol - the subject of his talk being "separation of church and state." Baptists had been particularly persecuted in colonial Virginia, as Francis L. Hawks wrote in his Ecclesiastical History, 1836: "No dissenters in Virginia experienced for a time harsher treatment than the Baptists. They were beaten and imprisoned, and cruelty taxed ingenuity to devise new modes of punishment and annoyance." So many Baptist ministers were harassed and their church services disrupted that James Madison introduced legislation in the Virginia Legislature, October 31, 1785, "A Bill for Punishing Disturbers of Religious Worship," which was passed in 1789.
Colonial Virginia had an "establishment" of the Church of England, or "Anglican Church" from 1606 to 1786. Establishment meant mandatory membership, mandatory taxes to support it, and no one could hold public office unless a member. Over time, lax enforcement allowed "dissenting" religious groups to enter Virginia, the first being Presbyterians and Quakers, followed by German Lutherans, Mennonites and Moravian Brethren, then finally Baptists. John Leland, who considered running for Congress, wanted an Amendment to the Constitution protecting religious liberty. He reportedly met with James Madison near Orange, Virginia, and upon Madison's promise to introduce what became the First Amendment, Leland persuaded Baptists to support him.
John Leland, in his Rights of Conscience Inalienable, 1791, demanded not just toleration, but equality: "Every man must give account of himself to God, and therefore every man ought to be at liberty to serve God in a way that he can best reconcile to his conscience. If government can answer for individuals at the day of judgment, let men be controlled by it in religious matters; otherwise, let men be free."
Following George Whitefield's First Great Awakening Revival, a Second Great Awakening Revival took place in Jefferson's Albemarle County. Baptist, Presbyterian and Methodist revival meetings were held, with even Jefferson's daughter, Mary, attending a Baptist revival preached by Lorenzo Dow. Dolly Madison, wife of James Madison, reported that in 1774 Jefferson dined with Baptist Pastor Andrew Tribble at Monticello, where Jefferson commented that Baptist church government: "...was the only form of pure democracy that exists in the world...It would be the best plan of government for the American colonies."
During the Revolution, Anglican ministers had sided with King George III, who was head of the Anglican Church. At this time, patriotic parishioners began to migrate from "established" churches into "dissenting" churches. Though Jefferson was baptized, married and buried in the Anglican Church, as recorded in his family Bible, he started in 1777, the Calvinistical Reformed Church in the Albemarle County Courthouse, even drawing up its bylaws. His novel idea was for it to be a "voluntary" church, supported only by attendees. Jefferson's memorandum book shows he contributed to their evangelical pastor, the Rev. Charles Clay, as well as to missionaries and other churches: "I have subscribed to the building of an Episcopal church, two hundred dollars, a Presbyterian, sixty dollars, and a Baptist, twenty-five dollars."
After the Revolution, the Virginia legislature rewrote its laws to remove references to the King. "Dissenting" churches lobbied Jefferson to "disestablish" the Anglican Church. Jefferson responded by writing his Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom. In 1779, fellow member of Jefferson's Calvinistical Reformed Church, Col. John Harvie, introduced the Bill in Virginia's Assembly.
After three of Jefferson's children died, then his wife in 1782, Jefferson suffered severe depression, burned all of his wife's letters and withdrew from politics. Trying to help, Congress asked Jefferson in 1784 to go France, which was going through its period of "French infidelity" prior to the bloody French Revolution. After this, Jefferson leaned toward a liberal style "deist-Christianity," though in later life he was described simply as a "liberal Anglican."
Jefferson's bill, which he noted on his gravestone, passed Virginia's Assembly, January 16, 1786: "Almighty God hath created the mind free...All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments...are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in His Almighty power to do...Be it enacted...that no man shall...suffer on account of his religious opinions."
Virginia's disestablishment of the Anglican Church would never have passed had not Methodist Bishop Francis Asbury split the popular Methodist movement away from the Anglican Church in 1785. There were notable leaders who resisted "disestablishing" the Anglican, or as it was now called, Episcopal Church, such as Governor Patrick Henry. This movement was later termed "antidisestablishmentarianism." Virginia built it first Jewish Synagogue in 1789 and first Catholic Church in 1795.
John Leland helped start Baptist churches in Connecticut, which had an establishment of the Congregational Church until 1818. The Baptist church in Danbury, Connecticut, petitioned President Jefferson, October 7, 1801: "Sir...Religion is at all times and places a Matter between God and Individuals - That no man ought to suffer in Name, person or effects on account of his religious Opinions...But Sir...what religious privileges we enjoy...we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights..."
Danbury Baptists continued: "Sir, we are sensible that the President of the united States is not the national Legislator and...cannot destroy the Laws of each State; but our hopes are strong that the sentiments of our beloved President...like the radiant beams of the Sun, will shine & prevail through all these States...May the Lord preserve you safe from every evil and bring you at last to his Heavenly Kingdom through Jesus Christ our Glorious Mediator."
On January 1, 1802, Jefferson wrote his famous letter agreeing with Danbury's Baptists: "Gentlemen...Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with solemn 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." Jefferson continued: "Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore man to all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties. I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man."
Baptists were familiar with Jefferson's metaphor "wall of separation," as Baptist founder of Rhode Island, Roger Williams, used it in his Bloody Tenet of Persecution for Conscience Sake, 1644: "Jews under the Old Testament... and...Christians under the New Testament...were both separate from the world; and that when they have opened a gap in the hedge, or wall of separation, between the garden of the Church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broken down the wall itself...And that therefore if He will ever please to restore His garden and paradise again, it must of necessity be walled in peculiarly unto Himself from the world."
Jefferson viewed the "wall" as limiting the federal government from "intermeddling" in church government, as explained in his letter to Samuel Miller, January 23, 1808:
"I consider the government of the United States as interdicted [prohibited] by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises. This results not only from the provision that no law shall be made respecting the establishment or free exercise of religion, but from that also which reserves to the states the powers not delegated to the United States (10th Amendment)." Jefferson continued: "Certainly no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the General (Federal) government...Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets."
The federal government was not limited, though, from spreading religion in Western territories, as April 26, 1802, Jefferson's administration extended a 1787 act of Congress where lands were designated: "For the sole use of Christian Indians and the Moravian Brethren missionaries for civilizing the Indians and promoting Christianity." And again, December 3, 1803, during Jefferson's administration, Congress ratified a treaty with the Kaskaskia Indians: "Whereas the greater part of the said tribe have been baptized and received into the Catholic Church...the United States will give annually, for seven years, one hundred dollars toward the support of a priest of that religion, who will engage to perform for said tribe the duties of his office, and also to instruct as many of their children as possible...And the United States will further give the sum of three hundred dollars, to assist the said tribe in the erection of a church."
When John Adams' wife died, Jefferson wrote to him, November 13, 1818: "The term is not very distant, at which we are to deposit...our sorrows and suffering bodies, and to ascend in essence to an ecstatic meeting with the friends we have loved and lost, and whom we shall still love and never lose again. God bless you and support you under your heavy affliction."
Twelve years before his death, Jefferson shared his personal views to Miles King, September 26, 1814: "We have heard it said that there is not a Quaker or a Baptist, a Presbyterian or an Episcopalian, a Catholic or a Protestant in heaven; that on entering that gate, we leave those badges of schism behind...Let us be happy in the hope that by these different paths we shall all meet in the end. And that you and I may meet and embrace, is my earnest prayer."
Over time, brilliant legal minds have used Jefferson's words to prohibit Jefferson's beliefs. Jefferson wrote in the Declaration: "All men are endowed by their Creator," yet in 2005, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones, inKitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, ruled students could not be taught of a Creator: "to preserve the separation of church and state."
Groups use Jefferson's phrase "separation of church and state" to remove national acknowledgment of God, despite Jefferson's warning against that very thing, as inscribed on the Jefferson Memorial, Washington, DC: "God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?"
American Minute for February 5th (click for included Endnotes): Guilty of preaching religious liberty in England, Roger Williams fled to Boston, FEBRUARY 5, 1631. He pastored briefly before being banished by Puritan John Cotton, who himself had been persecuted by Anglicans in England. Roger Williams befriended the Narragansett Indians, who gave him land for Providence Plantation, Rhode Island-the first place where church government was not controlled by the state government. In 1639, Williams organized the first Baptist Church in America.
His "notorious disagreements" with Cotton led to his publishing "Mr. Cotton's Letter Lately Printed, Examined and Answered," 1644, in which Roger Williams wrote: "The church of the Jews under the Old Testament in the type, and the church of the Christians under the New Testament in the anti-type, were both separate from the world; and when they opened a gap in the hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broken down the wall...therefore if He will ever please to restore His garden and paradise again, it must of necessity be walled in peculiarly unto Himself from the world."
In 1802, Jefferson referred to Roger Williams' "wall of separation" in his letter to the Danbury Baptists.
He drafted the Declaration of Independence, was Governor of Virginia, and as 3rd U.S. President approved the Louisiana Purchase, commissioning Lewis and Clark to explore it. He sent Marines to fight Muslim Barbary Pirates of Tripoli. But he is best known for his phrase "wall of separation of church and state."
Distributed by www.ChristianWorldviewNetwork.com
American Minute with Bill Federer February 5
Guilty of preaching religious liberty in England, Roger Williams fled to Boston on February 5, 1631. He pastored a short time before being banished from Massachusetts Bay Colony by Puritan John Cotton, who himself had been persecuted by Anglicans in England. Williams was befriended by the Narragansett Indians, who gave him land for Providence Plantation, Rhode Island. This was the first place ever where the freedom to worship was separated from state control. In 1639, he organized the first Baptist Church in the new world. The "notorious disagreements" between Williams and Cotton led to the publishing of: "Mr. Cotton's Letter Lately Printed, Examined and Answered," 1644, in which Williams wrote: "The church of the Jews under the Old Testament is the type, and the church of the Christians under the New Testament is the anti-type, were both separate from the world; and when they opened a gap in the hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world, God hath ever broken down the wall... therefore if He will ever please to restore His garden and paradise again, it must of necessity be walled in peculiarly unto Himself from the world." In writing to the Danbury Baptists, 1802, Jefferson referred to this "wall of separation between Church and State." - Endnotes at www.AmericanMinute.com P.O. Box 20163, St. Louis, MO 63123 1-888-USA-WORD
As evidenced in another letter to Samuel Miller in 1808, Jefferson wrote: "I consider the government of the United States as interdicted (prohibited) by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises." Jefferson's own "free exercise thereof" In 1804, Bible reading and the use of the Bible as a textbook was implemented in the first public schools of the District of Columbia, while Thomas Jefferson was president of the school board.
Moral instruction including "the proof of the being of a God, the Creator" in public schools by teachers, was part of the curricular plan designed by Thomas Jefferson for the University of Virginia.
Religious instruction on an equal footing with other instruction, as occurred at the University of Virginia, when Thomas Jefferson was rector and approved of setting aside a chapel "for religious worship" and "proposed to encourage various denominations to situate their theological schools near the University," thus "enabling the students of the University to attend religious exercises."
Jefferson also said: "God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? That they are not to violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever." - "Yes, we did produce a near perfect Republic. But will they keep it, or will they, in the enjoyment of plenty, lose the memory of freedom? Material abundance without character is the surest way to destruction."
"I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are, who led our fathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has covered our infancy with His providence and our riper years with His wisdom and power, and to whose goodness I ask you to join in supplications with me that He will so enlighten the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their measures that whatsoever they do shall result in your good, and shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and approbation of all nations."
...The director of the Center for Christian Statesmanship says the men who founded America never intended to remove God from public life. Dr. Frank Wright says quite the contrary, most were devout Christians who applied their Christian faith to everyday life, including government. He says President Thomas Jefferson is a good example. He notes thatat the same time Jefferson served as president, he was the chairman of the D.C. public school system -- and mandated in 1804 that two books be taught in those schools: the Bible and Watts' Hymnal. Wright calls that "an extraordinary thing to do" for someone who believes in the "separation of church and state." Wright believes anti-Gospel forces like the American Civil Liberties Union have twisted the working of the establishment clause and developed their own false interpretation about separation of church and state -- which he says the founding fathers never intended.
The first thing Congress did on September 25, 1789, was ask the president to acknowledge a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. On that same day, the words of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution were finalized.
What the Constitution really says (Alan Keyes) "...A right of the people as a whole – not an individual right – is the protected object of the first clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution. Even if one accepts the doctrine that the Bill of Rights must be taken as the basis for understanding the privileges and immunities of citizenship, the first clause of the First Amendment simply secures this right of the people, giving clear constitutional effect to their immunity from federal dictation in matters of religion....The establishment clause of the First Amendment secures a right of the people. Until now, though, many have treated the first two clauses of the amendment as if they are one ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..."). This practice ignores both the linguistic and the logical contrast between the two clauses. Where the first clause deals with a right of the people (that is, a power of government reserved to the states and to the people), the second clause deals with an action or set of actions (the free exercise of religion) that cannot be free unless they originate in individual choice. The first clause forbids Congress to address a subject at all. The second allows for federal action, but restricts the character of such action..."
George Washington "If I could have entertained the slightest apprehension that the constitution framed by the Convention . . . might possibly endanger the religious rights of any ecclesiastical society, certainly I would never have placed my signature to it."
In 1778 George Washington wrote a letter to Thomas Nelson, Jr. citing God’s divine intervention in the founding of our nation. "The hand of providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations."
ONLY organizations which promote immorality, and liberals who receive campaign donations from these immoral organizations, incorrectly promote this false claim.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that does evil hates the light, and doesn't come to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. John 3:19-20
The Courts' Use of 'Wall of Separation' Metaphor is All Wrong; History Proves it, says First Amendment Expert. In his book, Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation Between Church and State (New York University Press, 2002), Daniel L. Dreisbach carefully explores the history of the metaphor, its controversial uses and competing interpretations. The book also focuses on a 1947 Supreme Court decision by Justice Hugo L. Black in a Supreme Court case, Everson v. Board of Education. In that decision, which concerned the use of state funds to transport children to religious schools, Justice Black cited the "wall of separation," and characterized it as "high and impregnable. "That Dreisbach contends resulted in today's courts using the phrase to essentially remove from America's public square anything that vaguely resembles "religion."
"Jesus didn't get mixed up in politics"
"You can't impose your morality on other people"
"There's a separation between church and state"
"It's never right to resist authority"
"We're living in the last days"
"Christians should remain neutral"
"Christians should just 'preach the gospel'"
"It's not right to judge what people do."
"Politics is dirty"
"Religion and politics do not mix"
"Our citizenship is in heaven"
"God's kingdom is not of this world."
These and many more objections are studied, evaluated, and
answered in this succinctly written new book.
Understanding what God's Word says about these often-recited
but rarely examined challenges to Christian activism will
determine the future of Christianity in America and around
the world. This being the case, this just may be the most
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Constitutional Expert Exposes Establishment Clause Error
By Chad Groening
May 26, 2004
(AgapePress) - A Christian attorney who specializes in the United States Constitution says he wants to set the record straight about the myth of "the separation of Church and State."
Dee Wampler, who practices law in Springfield, Missouri, has appeared on Good Morning America and similar programs, seeking to negate the "lie" that he contends is being advanced by liberals -- that the U.S. Constitution mandates a total separation between the Church and the State.
The Christian attorney says he has grown "sick and tired" of this and other oft-repeated lies that make the rounds in American society. He claims there are some "great lies in the country today" and cites a few examples, such as "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you," and "The check is in the mail."
But the third biggest untruth being touted as fact in modern society, the constitutional expert says, "is that there is a separation of Church and State, and it's in the Constitution. And that is a big lie."
Wampler has written and published a book called The Myth of Separation Between Church and State (Winepress, 2003), which he hopes will help dispel this commonly held belief. He says revisionists have tried to erase the truth about America's origins.
Thanks to revisionist history, the author says, U.S. citizens are no longer taught that their country was founded as a Christian nation by Christian people. As a result, he believes Americans have lost their moral compass.
"Worse, than that," Wampler says, "we are revising our history today to be politically correct. And as a lawyer who specializes in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, I decided it was time to help set the record straight."
Through The Myth of Separation Between Church and State, Wampler seeks to document the origin of the widely-believed fallacy and to show that there is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that deals with a separation between religion and government. © 2004 AgapePress all rights reserved.
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