Breaking News

Opinion

September 18, 2013

Letter: Historical perspective must be considered

Much has been written about Thomas Jefferson’s comment about the “wall of separation between church and state” without considering the historical perspective. Historians generally agree that Jefferson was probably a Deist and not a Christian, as his peccable intimate personal life revealed. His carried a lifelong distrust of religion, and especially clergy, into politics. As brilliant people often do, he revered intellect.

When the Constitution was written, nine of the 13 former colonies had state-supported churches. Georgia’s was Anglican (Church of England). Connecticut’s was officially Congregational. The Baptists there did not like having to pay taxes to support the Congregationalists and wrote their concern to President Jefferson. They wanted constitutional clarification and assurance that the federal government would not “make laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ.”

By expressing hope that states would “restore to man all his natural rights,” he reminded them that the president could not constitutionally countermand a state’s law. He was discouraged from saying more because it might hurt him politically.

Jefferson’s reply to the Danbury Baptist Association about a “wall of separation between Church & State” was “borrowed” most likely from James Burgh (1714-1775), a non-Puritan Whig, a writer whose books Jefferson frequently recommended. In one of his books, “Crito,” Burgh included this line: “Build an impenetrable wall of separation between things sacred and civil.”

The problem that Jefferson, Burgh, James Madison, Patrick Henry and some others had was not that they wanted to see religion banned. Their objection was that some cities and states demanded an oath of loyalty to a preferred church, or Christianity in general, in order to run for any civic office. In the case of the Danbury Baptists, some of their members were imprisoned for refusing to pay taxes to support the Congregational church.

According to the late Cleon Skousen, an authority on communism/socialism, that quote by Jefferson became the vehicle to rid America of Christianity in order to advance socialism.  A push was begun during the last century to persuade lawmakers, judges and uninformed American citizens that the First Amendment doesn’t actually mean what it says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ...”

Because of the time in which he lived, Jefferson, who occasionally offered public prayer, likely could never have imagined that religion would be excluded from public places because someone might be offended.

Ina Fay Manly

Dalton

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Ensuring the joy of reading

    They’re little, they’re libraries, and best of all, they’re free.

    July 28, 2014

  • Move carefully, but soon

    No one intended for it to happen. No one had any bad motives.
    But during a period of 40 years or more, quite a few people didn’t do enough planning, didn’t have enough foresight to see what all of the development in Dalton would do.

    July 27, 2014

  • Local school systems must bear costs of federal immigration failure

    No word. No warning. Little help.
    That’s what Dalton Public Schools officials received from the federal government when it dropped 30 Central American students into local classrooms last school year.

    July 26, 2014

  • Sacrifices worth honoring

    Members of the Dalton City Council were recently approached by representatives of the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart with a request to declare Dalton a Purple Heart City. Council members indicated they will approve the request.

    July 24, 2014

  • We must do better

    The numbers tell a sad tale.
    Registered voters: 36,843.
    Cards cast: 5,307.
    That means the turnout for Tuesday’s runoffs in Whitfield County was a measly 14.4 percent, according to unofficial results from the Whitfield County elections office.

    July 23, 2014

  • Letter: Control immigration

    Thousands are starting to pour into our country, and things are getting personal. Why would we end up the bad guys if we turn away children who aren’t ours? How does it make us better people to let one man steal from our children and stand by and do nothing?

    July 23, 2014

  • Helping with Book Blast betters the community

    The school test results are in, and students in Whitfield and Murray counties mostly improved from a year ago, mirroring or exceeding average scores of their peers.

    July 23, 2014

  • Mark Millican: Guns are already everywhere

    Though it happened over 30 years ago, the image is still vivid.

    July 22, 2014

  • Charles Oliver: Former officer works overtime improperly

    Stephen F. Hall has pleaded guilty to theft by deception and falsifying a government record.

    July 22, 2014

  • Dalton council should seek answers

    Judicial elections in this area are usually pretty staid. In fact, they are generally nonexistent, since most judges run unopposed.

    July 21, 2014