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Looking at the current relationship of religion to government I am returning to Jefferson:


The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”

Thomas Jefferson

Perhaps we could have on our coins “In Jefferson We Trust”… or adapt the Pledge of Allegiance to “One Nation, under the ideas of Jefferson, with liberty and justice for all.”

Let’s also look at how religious differences world wide are working against us. I don’t think control of the Muslim Brotherhood is in our purview… but having extreme right Baptist preachers pushing anti-Muslim sentiments worldwide is bound to cause an extreme response.


Happy President’s Day… a few quotes from Presidential History which we might apply today…

If only Mount Rushmore could talk! Think what thoughts these great and former Presidents might have on the anti-Union aggression of Gov. Scott Walker and his minions…

“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”

George Washington

“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.”

Thomas Jefferson

“These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people”

Abraham Lincoln

“Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.”

Theodore Roosevelt

The History of Religion in America Returns for the Weekend.

I’m re-watching the God In America programs on Public Television today, having watched both nights (4 hours) last week. I find it a fascinating view of American History as it relates to the early congregations that escaped Europe to eventually found our country and the development of Reform movements, both in Christianity and Judaism, and, of course, the parallel rise in the 20th Century of non-belief and how it fits into the religious population of the American continent.

While the program followed the interpretations of biblical scholars, mostly, and not those of scientists or humanitarian thinkers who question the faithful and find solutions beyond holy creation. Getting through the Spaniards trying to convert the Pueblo Indians to Catholicism as their ONLY religion and creating a war because of it, the Puritans leaving England for the freedom to worship in their way and then denying any different method to others, the arrival of Methodists, Baptists (with “rebirth”), Congregationalists and others, we run right into Jefferson who believed that we had the freedom to believe and worship any way we wanted, since this was God’s plan.

The Anglican Church in Virginia is shown as a taxing authority and the new Protestant religions, especially the Baptists, drew converts which pulled government away from the Anglican rich. The licensing of preachers in Virginia was the jailable issue that brought the Baptists into revolutionary fervor. And, finally, the attachment of Thomas Jefferson to the cause of a religiously Free Virginia brought the passage of a bill which allowed this risk to be taken… a year before the Constitution was made in Philadelphia.

I learned a great deal in this program about the creation of Reform Judaism and the Conservative response to it (not to mention the Orthodox response to both Conservatives and Reformers.) There is very little difference here between the actions of Reform Jews and the actions of Reform Christians, other than the Deist interpretation of Christ.

I’ll watch the rest of this… although I wish the series was longer and got much further into non-belief.

Texas Students about to face a Generation of Stupidity: Thomas Jefferson Cut From Their Studies!

clipped from

The Board removed Thomas Jefferson from the Texas curriculum’s world history standards on Enlightenment thinking, “replacing him with religious right icon John Calvin.”

From the Texas Freedom Network’s live-blog of the board hearing:

Board member Cynthia Dunbar wants to change a standard having students study the impact of Enlightenment ideas on political revolutions from 1750 to the present. She wants to drop the reference to Enlightenment ideas (replacing with “the writings of”) and to Thomas Jefferson. She adds Thomas Aquinas and others. Jefferson’s ideas, she argues, were based on other political philosophers listed in the standards. We don’t buy her argument at all. Board member Bob Craig of Lubbock points out that the curriculum writers clearly wanted to students to study Enlightenment ideas and Jefferson. Could Dunbar’s problem be that Jefferson was a Deist? The board approves the amendment, taking Thomas Jefferson OUT of the world history standards.
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The board’s far-right faction has spent months now proclaiming the importance of emphasizing America’s exceptionalism in social studies classrooms. But today they voted to remove one of the greatest of America’s Founders, Thomas Jefferson, from a standard about the influence of great political philosophers on political revolutions from 1750 to today.