Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mr. Jefferson, Tear Down This Wall

Political cartoon from 1800
Library of Congress
I learned something very interesting one day while watching the Glenn Beck program on Fox News, two things that most likely just sent any Liberal reader heading for the exits. Knowing this, I couldn't write this piece using Glenn Beck as a source, so I decided to research on my own; something for which Beck should be applauded more often. He is singly responsible for a great many people who of late have taken a keen interest in their nation's founding, and history in general.

The cartoon above was run during the Presidential campaign of 1800, and the kneeling man is Thomas Jefferson, who was being attacked as an infidel by the Federalists. It is titled The Providential Detection, author unknown. From The Library Company of Philadelphia:
In this cartoon, the eye of God has instigated the American eagle to snatch from Jefferson's hand the "Constitution & Independence" of the United States before he can cast it on an "Altar to Gallic Despotism," whose flames are being fed by the writings of Thomas Paine, Helvetius, Rousseau, and other freethinkers. The paper, "To Mazzei," dropping from Jefferson's right hand, was a 1796 letter that was interpreted by Jefferson's enemies as an indictment of the character of George Washington.
We know how the election turned out, but the history of Jefferson's relation to God has been misconstrued ever since, and to this day people still mistakenly insist that Jefferson was anti-religion and cite him as the architect of the alleged "wall of separation".  

Liberals use this misnomer to rail against any religious symbol on public land, from Nativity scenes on Town Hall lawns to crosses erected in desolate deserts. So it was intriguing to learn that as recently as 1850, the Capitol Building was used as a church. Of particular distinction is the fact that Thomas Jefferson attended these masses every Sunday.

Strangely, Liberals who complain about these symbols, or about the audacity of school prayers at something as innocuous as a football game, shout that the "Constitution has a wall of separation", and those things are a violation of the Constitution. Clearly, they claim to stand in defense of that which they have not read.

The phrase "a wall of separation between church and state" is not contained anywhere in the Constitution, nor was it the Founders' intent to include it at any time. The phrase is part of a passing sentence in a letter from Jefferson to The Danbury Baptists in response to a congratulatory address by that association. The full text of the sentence:
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 legislative 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 would "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.

Thomas Jefferson, The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert E. Bergh, ed. (Washington, D. C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association of the United States, 1904), Vol. XVI, pp. 281-282.
For anyone who claims that Jefferson, or any of the other Founders, for that matter, were somehow anti-religion, or desirous of the segregation of faith and governance, keep in mind that all the presidents attended services in the Capitol building, and Thomas Jefferson was no exception, riding his horse the 1.6 miles, even in the pouring rain, to attend.

The video below explains even further how religious these Founders were, and why the hysteria about God and government being some sort of explosive mixture is nothing but foolishness from the Left.

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