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"Whereas the glory of Almighty God and the good of mankind is the reason and the end of government, and, therefore government itself is a venerable ordinance of God – (there shall be established) laws as shall best preserve true Christian and civil liberty, in opposition to all unchristian, licentious, and unjust practices, whereby God may have His due, and Caesar his due, and the people their due, from tyranny and oppression."
Danbury Baptist Association Correspondence
The address of the Danbury Baptist Association in the State of Connecticut assembled October 7, 1801 to Thomas Jefferson, Esq., President of the United States of America.
Among the many millions in America and Europe who rejoice in your Election to office, we embrace the first opportunity which we have enjoyed in our collective capacity since your inauguration, to express our great satisfaction in your appointment to the chief Magistracy in the United States: And though our mode of expression may be less costly and pompous than what many others clothe their addresses with, we beg you, Sir to believe, that none are more sincere.
Our Sentiments are uniformly on the side of Religious Liberty - That 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 - That the legitimate Power of Civil Government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbor. But, Sir our constitution of government is not specific. Our infant charter, together with the Laws made coincident therewith, were adopted as the Basis of our government at the time of our revolution; and such had been our Laws and usages, and such still are; that religion is considered as the first object of Legislation; and therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the State) we enjoy as favor granted, and not as inalienable rights: And these favors we receive at the expense of such degrading acknowledgements, as are inconsistent with the rights of freemen. It is not to be wondered at therefore; if those, who seek after power and gain under the pretence of government and Religion should reproach their fellow man - should Reproach their Chief Magistrate, as an enemy of Religion, Law and good order because he will not, dare not assume the prerogative of Jehovah and make Laws to govern the kingdom of Christ.
Sir, we are sensible that the President of the United States, is not the national Legislator and also sensible that the national government cannot destroy the Laws of each state; but our hopes are strong that the sentiments of our beloved President, which have had such genial Effect already, like the radiant beams of the Sun, will shine and prevail through all these States and all the world till Hierarchy and tyranny be destroyed from the Earth.
Sir, when we reflect on your past services, and see a glow of philanthropy and good will shining forth in a cause of more than thirty years we have reason to believe that America's God has raised you up to fill the chair of State out of that good will which he bears to the Millions which you preside over. May God Strengthen you for the arduous task which providence and the voice of the people have called you to sustain, and support you in your Administration against all the predetermined opposition of those who wish to rise to wealth and importance on the poverty and subjection of the people.
And may the Lord preserve you safe from every evil and bring you at last to his Heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Glorious Mediator.
Signed in behalf of the Association,
Stephen S. Nelson
Reply of Thomas Jefferson to above letter:
Messrs. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins & Stephen S. Nelson
A Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association in the State of Connecticut
The affectionate sentiments of esteem & approbation which you are so good as to express towards me on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
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 legitimate 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. 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 to man 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, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association assurances of my high respect and esteem.
January 1, 1802
Originally posted by nomorecruelty
If people actually read the Constitution, they would see that nowhere in there is found the phrase "separation of church and state".
I think that blame sits on the Supreme Court's shoulders - for siding with that nonsense back when it was first filed in court. Because since then, it seems no one questions it any longer - they just go on what everyone else is saying.
Our country was founded on Christianity - if anyone wants the hard copy proof, they can check out Historian David Barton's website - he has taken the time to lay it all out in black and white.
And keep in mind, Barton has the HARD copy docs to back up what he says - yet you will find various media outlets, and individuals, that are steady trying to discredit him and his lectures. You can argue with opinion, but you can't argue with hard documents to back up your claims.
You can listen to him at this link - it's the first part
of a 5 parter. And definitely worth the time to watch.
Originally posted by On the Edge
S&F for a very timely subject! I've been thinking about makung a thread about the 10 Commandments as well and how far this country has been subverted from it's original premise.
The Communist agenda has been very effective,sad to say.
Originally posted by ganjoa
I see the situation a bit more obliquely - "make no law respecting an establishment of religion" seems to IMPLY some sort of soverign immunity for church grounds and may actually make sense as to why churches aren't taxed even today. Since contributions ("taxes") paid to churches are "deductible" it is apparent a lot more people report that they attend church "religiously" to reduce their tax liability than may be accurate.
So the ecclesiastical centers of power were appeased with effectively embassy privilege status and beyond the reach of any legislative controls.
At least if you take the strict construction viewpoint from the libertarian stance.
Sorry if this was off topic, but the establishment clause is a real teaser for me - there is too much historical perspective in relations between church and state in our English-Judeo-Christian heritage, take the creation of the Anglican Church as one example or the Holy Roman Empire as another. Church ans State have always been two sides of established power. To what extent others (the elite) exist I am not certain - but spititual (Church) and tribal (State) leadership power structures exist in all cultures.