Valuing religious expression
TO THE EDITORS:
"In our village of Charlottesville, there is a good degree of religion .... We have four sects, but without either church or meeting house. The court-house is the common temple, one Sunday in the month to each ...."
If you guessed Thomas Jefferson, "the father of Separation of Church and State," you would be correct.
While serving in the Virginia House of Burgesses, Jefferson personally introduced a resolution for a Day of Fasting and Prayer in 1774.
Obviously, Mr. Jefferson's idea of the separation of church and state was far different than the modern-day notion promoted by organizations such as the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
The Founders believed that religious expression should be freely exercised in all venues, private and public, that government should look favorably upon all religious expression as long as one religious sect (such as the United Methodist Church) is not favored above another (such as the Lutheran Church), that the freedoms provided by the Constitution of the United States could only function and be preserved by a religious people.
I submit to you that it was the conviction of the Founders that, if the majority of Americans were atheist or lost their religious conviction and fervor having no accountability to their Creator in an afterlife, our Constitutional freedoms would eventually crumble because freedom from governmental control requires a self-governing citizenry controlled inwardly by a moral compass based on religious convictions.