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Thomas Jefferson


These are yet more quotes by Jefferson on the original intent of the constitutionally provisioned freedoms, such as Freedom of Religion. Read on, and see if your memory serves you correctly on what our founding fathers truly believed...

"I am really mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, a fact like this [i.e., the purchase of an apparent geological or astronomical work] can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too, as an offense against religion; that a question about the sale of a book can be carried before the civil magistrate. Is this then our freedom of religion? and are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy? And who is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure to which ours are all to be cut or stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up his reason as the rule for what we are to read, and what we must believe? It is an insult to our citizens to question whether they are rational beings or not, and blasphemy against religion to suppose it cannot stand the test of truth and reason. If [this] book be false in its facts, disprove them; if false in its reasoning, refute it. But, for God's sake, let us freely hear both sides, if we choose."
--Thomas Jefferson to N. G. Dufief, 1814.

"Question with boldness even the existence of a god."
- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Peter Carr, 10 August 1787)

"Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth." - Thomas Jefferson (Notes on Virginia, 1782

More to come...

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References for this page:
Jefferson on Politics & Government: Freedom of Religion

quote #3 found at: The Founding Fathers Speak Out on God, Religion and the First Amendment

quote #4 from George Seldes, ed., The Great Quotations, Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press, 1983, p. 363 from The Founding Fathers Speak Out on God, Religion and the First Amendment

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