Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson, (1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President

Thomas Jefferson Quote

“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 should "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 JeffersonThomas Jefferson
~ Thomas Jefferson

letter to a Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, Connecticut, January 1st 1802

Ratings and Comments

E Archer, NYC

This is the famous 'separation between Church and State' quote and the subject of much debate between believers and unbelievers alike.

Will, Lakewood, CO

This is a really good quote.

Ron, Cleveland


V Tumeo, II, Los Angeles, CA

Notice the bibliography? This is NOT a quote from the "Declaration of Independence". It is however a quote from "a letter to a Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, Connecticut January 1st 1802".

Robert, Sarasato

Another excellent quote - why must we live in a world or words and not be able to act upon them.

helorat, Milton

What a pity the phrase which is in the Bill of Rights "...nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." always seems to be forgotten. And judging by the way the ACLU behaves, I am sure their must be a clause in their that says that part only applies to Islam.

Mike, Norwalk

Now that the Supreme Court has legislated a default national establishment of religion, and prohibited the free exercise of competing belief systems in many venues, the wall has been breeched.

warren, olathe

Good quote defending religion and the free exorcise there of. This is not in the constitution as you should note. It is a clarification of why the state cannot make any law limiting the right of people to express their religion anywhere anytime. He was assuring the church that they had nothing to fear from the government

warren, olathe

Notices that this is the source of the “wall of separation” not the constitution as many have claimed.

Marie, Alabama

I am so glad everyone commenting knew that this quote was from a PRIVATE letter and did not ass-u-me it was the Constitution or Bill of Rights. This quote was a response to a letter from the Danbury Baptist Association in which they aired that they were grieved by the omission of God and Religion in the Constitution. Written Oct 7, 1801. Jefferson replied in a PRIVATE letter this quote. On Jan. 1, 1802. Notice PRIVATE. A letter totally taken out of context, I wonder what would happen in today's times if that happened. Can anyone say Lawsuit!

KT, anytown, usa

The church has nothing to fear from the government AND the government (people of many different religious faiths) has nothing to fear from a church. It goes both ways folks.

Mike, Norwalk

"legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions," Hate speech, and victimless crimes are but 2 opinions that fall within a national establishment of religion's dominional canons. In the case of the occupying statist theocracy infesting this land, carnal government is interfaced with as a primary god and righteous totalitarianism becomes the authoritarian priesthood. The secular natural law (the law of nature and of nature's God) is separate from the theocracy of compelled compliance, government license, victimless crimes, larceny with impunity (2nd plank of the communist manifesto, Social Security, police state confiscations, etc.) and alienation of nature's endowed rights.

Robert, Somewhere in the USA

It's a no brainer! who said "Only atheists are thinking men"
Yes There Is a Constitutional Separation of Church and State
By Dale Hansen
Perhaps nothing is more important to American politics than a well-reasoned debate. Unfortunately, far too many people are ill-informed to make such discussions possible.
An excellent example of this comes from the responses to an article I wrote examining the concerns of conservative Christians over Tennessee schools’ teaching the five pillars of Islam. While there were a number of topics that readers could have discussed, by far the most outrage centered on my statements regarding the separation of church and state. Comments included “Clearly, someone hasn’t read the Constitution, because there is no such thing as “separation of church and state” in the US Constitution.” “Where exactly in the U.S. Constitution does it address “separation of church and state?” and “Simply put, nowhere in the First Amendment does the phrase ‘separation of church and state’ exist.”
It seems that to some people, if the words don’t explicitly appear in the constitution then the idea they refer to isn’t constitutionally guaranteed. Viewing it in these simplistic terms is meant to dismiss the entire argument; as if every decision based on the separation of church and state is somehow invalid because the term separation of church and state doesn’t appear in the constitution.
Of course the problems with this assertion are many. First and most basic is the fact that the Supreme Court is the ultimate interpreter of federal constitutional law. This means that while the term “separation of Church and State” may never appear in the constitution itself, the Court ruling in the case of Everson v. Board of Education stated “the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between Church and State.’”
A quarter century later, the case of Lemon v. Kurtzman further defined this separation when it established the Lemon Test to determine if a law violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Every ruling since has confirmed that, in the view of the highest court in the land the Constitution created a separation of church and state.
Having said that, the separation of church and state is hardly the first unwritten concept that is protected by the constitution. In the 1973 case of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court established a women’s constitutional right to have an abortion despite the word abortion never appearing in the constitution. In the 2015 case of Obergefell v. Hodges the Supreme Court established that laws against same sex marriage were unconstitutional despite the word marriage never appearing in the constitution. In the 1963 case of Gideon v. Wainwright the Supreme Court established that the constitution guarantees the right to an attorney despite the words public defender never appearing in the constitution. In the 2010 case of McDonald v. Chicago the Supreme Court established that the second amendment right to bear arms included the right to bear arms for self-defense despite the words self-defense never appearing in the constitution.
It should also be noted that of the 112 Supreme Court Justices, none of them has been an atheist. In fact 92 pecent of them were Christian. What rationale would these justices have for making laws that would create a legal prejudice towards their system of beliefs, especially if the separation of Church and State is a misinterpretation?
The reality is that the constitution was never meant to be a stagnant document that was rigidly adherent to the words on the page. As Thomas Jefferson said “The constitution, on this hypothesis, is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist, and shape into any form they please.” Over the past 200 years the Supreme Court has shaped the constitution to contain a clear separation of church and state that protects every religion equally. If only those who argue against this separation could see how they benefit from it instead of inappropriately interpreting it as an attack on Christianity.

E Archer, NYC

Dale Hansen has highlighted Jefferson's warnings perfectly.
The slippery slope of social judicial activism is corrupting even the very definition of words, language itself. There is absolutely no Constitutional right to an abortion -- there is no Constitutional prohibition on abortion either. The Constitution is the rule book for the government, not the people. The courts cannot change the rules, their decisions do not make law. But once the entire context of a republican form of government is twisted from a servant government to a ruling State, somehow the restrictions on government have been placed on the people. Instead of the people regulating the government, the government is regulating the people! Those that believe the government's job is to regulate people and their thoughts, words, actions are in fact authoritarians, with lawyers and judges being the aristocracy and czars. The history of socialism is abysmal!! Where does Robert's defense of anti-religion and eugenics lead? This is utopia? Empty rhetoric and false authority.

Bruce Ballard, Shingletown, CA

E. Archer--

Excellent points!

The "separation" issue, as meagerly explained above, was a result of Jefferson's comments to the Danbury Baptist Association being misconstrued (lightly speaking) and further twisted into a pile of crimped tin-foil (when viewed even remotely from the vantage of any solid context.)

The Baptists wanted their "sect" of Christianity to be the cornerstone of religious interpretations... made by the "state". Of course, that didn't work out well for the Danburys.

The "separation" concept has devolved from that point 200+ years ago, and is now so unrecognizable as to be virtually impossible to apply it as intended.

Everyone wants their view of the issue to hold sway, in the least... and hopefully to have their view bury anyone's contrary view in a ditch so deep it would take centuries to extract it from the darkness.

The problem with most "Christians", as I see it, is their obsession over the need to "convert" someone from their pagan ways. Of course, Jesus said, "No man comes unto me lest the father draw him." The idea that a person can be converted through some song and dance routine is absurd on its face.

The end-time is close at hand. When these "Christians" realize they are not getting "beamed out" until the second coming of Jesus (which occurs later than they had hoped), they are going to be very disappointed--so much so that I, being a Christian, am scared more by Christians than any pagans; or demons, Satan, etc. A pagan is easily spotted from a distance. A Christian takes big-time effort to pierce those layers of erroneous dogma smeared upon them by false "prophets".

All I know is that the Trumpster has officially declared that the US will be moving our embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. About time. Just one step closer to Armageddon... and the end of this screwed up system batched in the stewpot of man's twisted mind.


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