Monday, December 10, 2012

Something I just learned...

I had not come across this passage (by John Tyler, tenth president of the U.S.) before today:

“The United States have adventured upon a great and noble experiment, which is believed to have been hazarded in the absence of all previous precedent — that of total separation of Church and State. No religious establishment by law exists among us. The conscience is left free from all restraint and each is permitted to worship his Maker after his own judgment. The offices of the Government are open alike to all. No tithes are levied to support an established Hierarchy, nor is the fallible judgment of man set up as the sure and infallible creed of faith. The Mohammedan, if he will to come among us would have the privilege guaranteed to him by the constitution to worship according to the Koran; and the East Indian might erect a shrine to Brahma, if it so pleased him. Such is the spirit of toleration inculcated by our political Institutions.”

So, it's not only Thomas Jefferson who understood the Constitution to be establishing a "separation of Church and State."

Of course, I don't see how the First Amendment and Article VI ("no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust in the United States.”) can reasonably be interpreted any other way.


  1. Anonymous9:51 PM

    Great stuff. Thanks for posting.

    Ulysses Grant:

    Encourage free schools and resolve that not one dollar of the money appropriated to their support shall be appropriated to the support of any sectarian school; that neither the state or nation, not both combined, shall support institutions of learning other than those sufficient to afford to every child in the land the opportunity of a good common-school education, unmixed with sectarian, pagan, or atheistical dogma.

    Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and private schools entirely supported by private contributions. Keep the church and state forever separate. With these safeguards I believe the battles which created the Army of the Tennessee will not have been fought in vain.

    Today's Republicans are the ones breaking with pretty consistent history.

    --Bryan Doug

  2. Thanks for this, Bryan. Yes, it's another good one. I had, actually, come across what Grant said here at some point but I had forgotten all about it. Thanks for this reminder.


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