Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Separation of Church and State and Individual Conscience

The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries.”

James Madison quote

"The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian Religion." 1797 the treaty of Tripoli, signed by President Washington, and approved by the Senate of the United States

"Almighty God hath created the mind free; all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments of burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in His almighty power to do." Thomas Jefferson, Acts for Establishing Religious Freedom in Virginia, 1785.
"I am tolerant of all creeds. Yet if any sect suffered itself to be used for political objects I would meet it by political opposition. In my view church and state should be separate, not only in form, but fact. Religion and politics should not be mingled." Millard Fillmore (1809-1865) 13th U.S. President (Millard Fillmore, address during the 1856 presidential election; from Albert Menendez and Edd Doerr, eds., Great Quotations on Religious Freedom, Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2002, p. 70.)

"There is not a precept in the New Testament to compel, by civil law, any man who is not a Christian to pay any regard to the Lord's day, more than to any other day, and is without the authority of the christian religion. The gospel commands no duty which can be performed without faith in God. `Whatsoever is not of faith is sin' but to compel men destitute of faith to observe any Christian institution, such as the Lord's day, is commanding a duty to be performed without faith in God. Therefore, to command unbelievers, or natural men, to observe in any sense the Lord's day, is antievangelical, or contrary to the gospel." Alexander Campbell, Founder of Disciples of Christ Church Memoirs, Vol 1, pg 528.

"When religion is good, it will take care of itself. When it is not able to take care of itself, and God does not see fit to take care of it, so that it has to appeal to the civil power for support, it is evidence to my mind that its cause is a bad one." Benjamin Franklin, Statesman, Inventor, Author, Letter to Dr. Price.

"To discriminate against a thoroughly upright citizen because he belongs to some particular church, or because, like Abraham Lincoln, he has not avowed his allegiance to any church, is an outrage against the liberty of conscience, which is one of the foundations of American life." - Roosevelt's letter on religious liberty.

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