1797 Treaty of Tripoli (Article 11) - The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.
Benjamin Franklin - Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.
Benjamin Franklin - The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.
George Washington - Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause.
James Madison - During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.
James Madison - Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.
John Adams - God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world
John Adams - This would be the best of all possible worlds if there were no religion in it
Thomas Jefferson - Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man.
Thomas Jefferson - History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government.
Thomas Jefferson - I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded upon fables and mythologies
Thomas Jefferson - In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own
Thomas Jefferson - 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 - Political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves [of public ignorance] for their own purpose
Thomas Jefferson - Question with boldness even the existence of god; because if there be one he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear
Thomas Jefferson - The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.
Thomas Jefferson - To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, God, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no God, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise
Thomas Paine - All natural institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
Thomas Paine - Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and of my own part, I disbelieve them all.
Thomas Paine - It is from the bible that man has learned cruelty, rapine, and murder, for the belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man, and the bible is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind
Thomas Paine - Of all the tyrannies that afflict mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst. Every other species of tyranny is limited to the world we live in, but this attempts a stride beyond the grave and seeks to pursue us into eternity
Thomas Paine - The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called religion
There are more, but I don't have the time right now. Point being, in case anyone is confused, is that a number of Founding Fathers (and clearly some framers) were not believers, and the United States of America, as stated in the Treaty of Tripoli, is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian (or any other) religion.
A middle-aged man dreaming of the day when he can stop begging for scraps and write for a living.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Someone in reddit did a nice job of compiling some quotations from our nation's Founding Fathers regarding the roles of Church and State. It's the most diverse list of quotations I've come across in a while, so I bookmarked it and thought I'd share it here.