Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Church / State Separation: Jefferson and the Danbury Baptists

Church / State Separation: Jefferson and the Danbury Baptists Article about the meaning and context of Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists, focusing on its relevancy to the principle of the separation of church and state.

From the site:

Myth:
Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists is not important.

Response:
Although the idea of a "wall of separation" originated with Roger Williams and not Thomas Jefferson, it is Jefferson's phrasing which has been most used by judges, lawyers and politicians when it comes to interpreting the First Amendment. This is unsurprising because of Jefferson's role in the development of our nation and our political system.

The phrase itself stems from a letter which Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Church in Connecticut. Jefferson was president at the time and the Danbury Baptist Association had written to him on October 7, 1801, expressing their concern about their religious freedoms.

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