Jefferson's Letter to the Danbury Baptists
The Final Letter, as Sent To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.
The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.
Jan. 1. 1802.
The Danbury Baptists' letter to Thomas Jefferson
The address of the Danbury Baptists Association in the state of Connecticut, assembled October 7, 1801.
To Thomas Jefferson, Esq., President of the United States of America.
Sir, Among the many million in America and Europe who rejoice in your election to office; we embrace the first opportunity which we have enjoyed in our collective capacity, since your inauguration, to express our great satisfaction, in your appointment to the chief magistracy in the United States: And though our mode of expression may be less courtly and pompous than what many others clothe their addresses with, we beg you, sir, to believe that none are more sincere. Our sentiments are uniformly on the side of religious liberty--that religion is at all times and places a matter between God and individuals--that no man ought to suffer in name, person, or effects on account of his religious opinions--that the legitimate power of civil government extends no further than to punish the man who works ill to his neighbors; But, sir, our constitution of government is not specific. Our ancient charter together with the law made coincident therewith, were adopted as the basis of our government, at the time of our revolution; and such had been our laws and usages, and such still are; that religion is considered as the first object of legislation; and therefore what religious privileges we enjoy (as a minor part of the state) we enjoy as favors granted, and not as inalienable rights; and these favors we receive at the expense of such degrading acknowledgements as are inconsistent with the rights of freemen.
It is not to be wondered at therefore; if those who seek after power and gain under the pretense of government and religion should reproach their fellow men--should reproach their order magistrate, as a enemy of religion, law, and good order, because he will not, dare not, assume the prerogatives of Jehovah and make laws to govern the kingdom of Christ.
Sir, we are sensible that the president of the United States is not the national legislator, and also sensible that the national government cannot destroy the laws of each state; but our hopes are strong that the sentiments of our beloved president, which have had such genial effect already, like the radiant beams of the sun, will shine and prevail through all these states and all the world, till hierarchy and tyranny be destroyed from the earth. Sir, when we reflect on your past services, and see a glow of philanthropy and good will shining forth in a course of more than thirty years we have reason to believe that America's God has raised you up to fill the chair of state out of that goodwill which he bears to the millions which you preside over. May God strengthen you for your arduous task which providence and the voice of the people have called you to sustain and support you enjoy administration against all the predetermined opposition of those who wish to raise to wealth and importance on the poverty and subjection of the people. And may the Lord preserve you safe from every evil and bring you at last to his heavenly kingdom through Jesus Christ our Glorious Mediator.
Signed in behalf of the association,
Nehemiah Dodge Ephraim Robbins Stephen S. Nelson
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Comment to Ameritianity: I like coming to this site and reading the comments The evil people need to stay away if they do not want to read the truth. I did not vote for Oboma. I thought he was not for America. Now we know he is not for America. Keep this good work going we need this. Gives us hope. May God Bless, AND BLESS our country that we once knew. Your Name: Betty 09/11/2009
Thank you very much Betty. It is people like you and your comments that keep Ameritianity and our readers going.
I don't like the negative comments posted, as I'm sure many of the Christians that come to this website for information...this website uplifts people. Plenty of negative comments are posted on all other websites; in fact foul language and disgusting innuendos about Pres. Bush, Sarah Palin etc. are posted all day long. We know there are people out there that do NOT want to know the truth, until of course it is too late. The people visiting this website find comfort knowing that some way, somehow America will get back on the right track; and believe me those that voted for this government have learned a big time lesson, never again will they be fooled by another candidate telling them "sweet little lies". If the people visiting this website don't like it, they can go back to the other websites that fill their void with Michael Jackson, and things that have nothing to do with what is really going on with this administration!!! One thing that they don't get on the other website, and that is an education; they will always stay simple minded. I also think that a lot of folks out there know what is really going on, but since they voted for Obama they must defend him, lest they too look like fools!!!! In conclusion, if you are telling the truth you do NOT need to defend yourself. Keep up the good work!!! God bless! Joseph S 09/08/09