Separation of Religion and State in America | International Humanist and Ethical Union: "Separation of Religion and State in America
Submitted by admin on 20 September, 2005 - 07:33. United States of America | IHN 2005.3 August | Religion & state | International Humanist News
United States of America
In 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to his nephew Peter Carr. Jefferson never had a son of his own, and his nephew often played that role. In this letter, written while Jefferson was living in France, Jefferson offered advice for a young man just beginning to make his way in the world. He discussed the intellectual and cultural attainments such a young man should strive for.
In the section dealing with religion, Jefferson wrote, 'Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear'.
It is with great shame that I tell you that any politician who said something like that today in my country could not be elected to public office. Note that Jefferson did not advise his nephew to stop believing in God - merely to have the courage to doubt. That would be enough to sink his political career today.
It is ironic that I am here at a time when the wall of separation of church and state in America is under sustained and relentless assault."