Friday, April 13, 2012
Enlightenment on Thomas Jefferson
As we celebrate Thomas Jefferson's 269th birthday (on the new styled calendar), this quote emphasizes two points about his character.
Contemporary atheists are quick to discount the influence of religion on the founding of this nation by discounting Jefferson's skeptical faith. The truth is that Jefferson was not irreligious. Jefferson was a student of scripture, he attended services regularly and even served on the vestry of his Anglican Church and donated generously to Christian missionary works and causes. Much is made about the Jefferson Bible, which excised miracles from scripture. Well, it was an abridgment of the Gospels created in 1804 for missions to Indians. Secularists quote his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Church advocating "the separation of church and state" like it was Gospel, but that reflected Jefferson's contention that freedom of religion would be strengthened by having government involvement. Jefferson's notions of Deism may not comport with our understanding of Christianity, but he certainly had a fervent faith and was a friend to Christians.
The second point is about Jefferson's ardent advocacy for freedom. From the natural law which shone when he penned the Declaration of Independence in 1776 to this quote, Jefferson believed in an individual's liberty.
Since American's education on history has been so poorly served of late, it is worth having some "Hysteria" for the Tom Jefferson Show.