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Thomas Jefferson Correspondence with Danbury Baptist Church

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posted on Apr, 3 2010 @ 11:26 AM
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A perennial favorite whipping boy for certain elements is the Christian church, made to accept punishment for many real and imagined abuses. Inevitably, those in favor of unlimited government speak of the inviolable "Wall of Separation between Church and State" as though Moses himself spake those words from Ararat!

The truth is much less dogmatic. It also reveals unpleasant truths, to these people, about the actual belief and faith of the men that invented America some two centuries past. My hops in posting this is to dispel the wicked propaganda spewed forth against unwitting dupes, whose only crime is ignorance of primary evidence about the formation of the United States of America and the men that did the forming.

As an example of this, I bring to your attention the "Great Law of Pennsylvania", founded by Quaker Pietist William Penn.

On April 25, 1682, the "Great Law of Pennsylvania," that state's first legislative act, was set forth as follows:


"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."



This should dispel the notion that America was always a "secular" government once and for all... but it won't to those that will not open their ideology and selfishness to examination.

So let's move to a more recent, but still founding source. Please read this correspondence and ponder how in good faith it could be used to facilitate to annihilation of Christianity from the public square and beyond. Hint: it can't -- only scurrilous lies effect that end!

PART I:
Original letter to Mr Jefferson:



Danbury Baptist Association Correspondence

www.lonang.com...


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.

Sir:

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,

The Committee
Neh. Dodge
Ephraim Robbins
Stephen S. Nelson


[edit on 3-4-2010 by joeofthemountain]

[edit on 3-4-2010 by joeofthemountain]




posted on Apr, 3 2010 @ 11:26 AM
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PART II:

Mr Jefferson's reply:




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

Gentlemen:

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.

Thomas Jefferson
January 1, 1802




posted on Apr, 3 2010 @ 01:58 PM
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This is perhaps the most misunderstood piece of Presidential communication in the history of this country. As has been stated, time and time again, this country was founded on Judeao-Christions primciples, yet progressive judges have ruled that any involvement between church and state is unconstitutional. The only mention of religion in the constitution is in the 1St amendment, which is the non-establishment clause, and prohibition against free excercise clause.
Before a territory could be admitted as a state, it was required the schools and churches were established, so that the citizens would be educated in the democratic process, and would have a solid religious understanding for the basis of our laws.
Star and flag, my friend, but prepare to be flamed.



posted on Apr, 3 2010 @ 02:11 PM
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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.




posted on Apr, 3 2010 @ 02:38 PM
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I saw one of Barton's documentaries on television a few years ago. I was so moved I searched and eventually purchased an original edition of one of his sources, "Stories of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence". I had it rebound as the original covers were disintegrating, but the folios themselves are in excellent condition.

It was about the best $300 I ever spent as it is tangible proof of the Christian origin and character of the American colonies and their federation under the Articles of Federation and the Constitution.




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.




posted on Apr, 3 2010 @ 02:56 PM
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All the meaning of religion and our founding fathers were that there would never be an established church, all people will be free to choose their own religion and choose whether to express it or not. It was merely a choice of your own actions toward religion. Simply put, you don't force your religion on anyone else and they can't force theirs on you, government can't force any religion on you and you can't force any religion on government.

So we were founded to maintain Judeo-Christian values but only voluntarily.

Religion and church attendance was the only reason we had a libertarian government. The founders believed that since people attended church they would give money to the church to help their fellow citizens. This would remove any forced obligation by the government and would still have a form of welfare.

As of today, that would not work. People do not attend church much and the few that do are generally poor. The founders created our constitution and economics with the belief that giving people voluntary religion and freedom from force that they would continue to attend church regularly and give money to help their fellow man, which would create no need for welfare.

[edit on 4/3/10 by Misoir]



posted on Apr, 3 2010 @ 05:02 PM
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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.

gj



posted on Apr, 3 2010 @ 05:35 PM
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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.



posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 07:09 PM
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Many years ago, in that portion of my boyhood spent in the Frozen Tundra of suburban Minneapolis, I passed wintertime (all six months of it!) listening to my parents' short-wave radio.

The Cold War was in full swing in 1977 so Radio Moscow sent me a copy of their anniversary celebration almanac of the October Revolution of 1917. I read the Soviet constitution and remember the right "and to be free of religion" that followed a phrase about "freedom to practice religion".

Quite clearly, we are far down the Soviet path and our defacto constitution, if not the original from 1789, closely resembles any of the USSR's many versions produced over its 70 year reign of terror.




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.



posted on Apr, 5 2010 @ 07:19 PM
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The founding Fathers all thought quite highly of the Christian church, even Jefferson and Franklin who are often -- but erroneously -- invoked as agnostics or deists, etc.

If I remember it correctly, the IRS provision for educational corporations (the 501(c)(3) entities) was a creature of the 1950s. Before then, no one ever thought to tax a church! As with so many of our reactive laws, they created a set of cascading consequences previous law was ill-equipped to handle.

Which supreme court justice said this? "The power to tax is the power to destroy" and I think the tax-free status of most church entities has done more harm than good in the final analysis since it makes them seek state approval for much of their work. I note an increasing number of smaller "Bible" churches that forgo 501(c)(3) and are free to preach and teach as they see fit.

I happen to be an Anglican and your observation is not very far from the mark, I admit. The problem with any hierarchy of men is that men are flawed and the more power vested into a single man, the greater the damage from him. This is very sadly evident in the Anglican Communion as what would once be considered heresy is forced on unwilling parishes on threat of losing their property, which of course carries intense sentimental value to those whose parish membership stretches decades of not generations into the past. So it's not only a secular government that puts an ecclesiastical congregation at risk - it is the denomination's own government in many cases.

As I reflect on such problems, I see the great wisdom demonstrated by another branch of my forefathers - the New England Congregationalists who did not trust the hierarchy and dispensed with the formal position of bishop.

Of course, the Congregationalists were very devout and membership in one of their congregations was a requirement to hold office until well into Republican times. New England was also the primary beacon to immigration and the last part of the USA to fall into decadence and decay, which I believe is not coincidental to their public piety.



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.

gj



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