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


Text Only
  • Library must reach decision soon

    Four months ago the board of the Chatsworth-Murray Library announced it would leave the Northwest Georgia Regional Library System by June 30 of this year, the end of the library system’s fiscal year.

    April 23, 2014

  • Letter: Concert was spectacular

    I believe Dalton achieved its most beautiful moment last April 18, on Thornton Avenue. It occurred in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church of Dalton.

    April 23, 2014

  • An important part of the fight

    The lawns of Dalton City Hall and the Murray County Courthouse are filled with pinwheels this week.

    April 22, 2014

  • Mark Millican: Not just for college students

    It was the seemingly unanswerable question of the campus — and especially the faculty — when I first attended Dalton Junior College in the 1973-74 school year: “Is man inherently good, or inherently evil?”

    April 22, 2014

  • Charles Oliver: Evidence at the last minute or later

    In New York, Bronx County Criminal Court Judge John Wilson has banned prosecutor Megan Teesdale from his court.

    April 22, 2014

  • Misty Watson: Turns out, I’m a millennial

    The word millennial always conjures up this image of a guy wearing skinny jeans, Converse high tops, a plaid button-up shirt, thick-rimmed glasses, a hat, facial hair and a messenger bag slung over his shoulder.

    April 22, 2014

  • Understandable uncertainty from taxpayers

    It’s not yet official, but Dalton residents should expect to pay more in school property taxes this year.

    April 20, 2014

  • Letter Candidate outlines his platform

    To the citizens of Dalton and Whitfield County,
    My name is Dr. Nicky P. Starling and I am a candidate for Whitfield County Commissioner District 1. I did not attend the Republican forum on April 8 because a pastor friend was killed by a drunk driver and I chose to support his family at a memorial service.

    April 20, 2014

  • Citizen of the Week: Kacee Smith of the Georgia Rampage

    When the Georgia Rampage became Dalton’s first professional indoor football team last year, it would have been easy for the owner and players to focus only on drawing attention to themselves as they tried to build up the team’s following.

    April 18, 2014

  • Successes continue at Dalton State College

    These are exciting times for our local college, Dalton State, both on campus and off.

    April 16, 2014