The Skunk and Tiger

"Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge."-Horace Mann

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Happy Religious Freedom Day.

Ed Brayton at Talk to Action posted about the significance of Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on January 16, 1786. This vital document became the basis for the separation of church and state, and led to freedom of religion for all Americans as protected in the religion clause in the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.

January 16th is National Religious Freedom Day, the day the Virginia Assembly passed Thomas Jefferson's Statute for Religious Freedom. Jefferson had tried to get it passed once, but failed. By the fall of 1785, he was in France as our ambassador, but his protege and close friend James Madison championed the bill to passage. He did this in response to a bill by Patrick Henry that would have forced Virginians to support Christian ministers with their tax dollars. Ultimately, Henry's bill lost and Jefferson's bill won, initiating a major societal change away from established churches and toward true religious freedom. This bill would become the model for the first amendment religion clauses and the trend would sweep throughout the states, resulting in the disestablishment of one state church after another until, in 1833, they were all gone. This is a day worth celebrating.

Click here for the full story.


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