posted on Nov, 28 2002 @ 09:09 AM
A reminder of one of history's greatest persons:
Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned; yet we
have not advanced one inch toward 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 the State of Virginia, 1781-82
I know it will give great offense to the clergy, but the advocate of religious freedom is to expect neither peace nor forgiveness from them.
-- Thomas Jefferson, to Levi Lincoln, 1802. ME 10:305
I am really mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, a fact like this can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry
too, as an offence 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.
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to N. G. Dufief, Philadelphia bookseller, 1814, after being prosecuted for selling de Becourt's book, Sur la CrÈation du
Monde, un SystÍme d'Organisation Primitive, which Jefferson himself had purchased.
No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested,
or burthened in his body or goods, 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
-- Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1779), quoted from Merrill D. Peterson, ed., Thomas Jefferson: Writings (1984), p. 347
I am for freedom of religion, & against all maneuvres to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Elbridge Gerry, 1799
I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance, or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others.
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Edward Dowse, April 19, 1803