Utah People's Party

…proclain liberty through out all the land….(Leviticus 25:10)

Introducing the Danbury Baptists Letter

on October 24, 2012

Now days Freedom of Religion and Separation of Church and State are not the same concept. Freedom of Religion was the concept our Founding Fathers taught. While Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States, about a decade after the passage of the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, he wrote the letter quoted below. This letter is the source of the term Separation of Church and State.

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.

Gentlemen
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.

Th Jefferson
Jan. 1. 1802.

Library of Congress Information Bulletin June 1998

When President Jefferson wrote the letter, he introduced a new label, “…wall of separation of Church and State” for the existing concept of Freedom of Religion. He makes no mention of keeping monuments of the ten commandment out of court houses, keeping prayer out of schools nor does he mention any of the other things that Separation of Church and State means to most twenty-first century U.S. citizens. Over time, Separation of Church and State became a very different concept than Freedom of Religion as separation was repeatedly reinterpreted by federal judges. Freedom of Religion as taught by our founders, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and others, was about welcoming freedom in. The twenty-first century notion of Separation of Church and State is about pushing religion out.

The People’s Party preaches and practices freedom of religion, while rejecting the modern contrasting notion of Separation of Church and State. When President Jefferson wrote this letter, he clearly knew that the four words, “wall”, “separation”, “church”, and “state” do not appear in the First Amendment. Look at the words President Jefferson encloses in quotation marks above. What President Jefferson quotes from above is the First Amendment. Would a President who wished to make public life purely secular write, “I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man…” (emphasis on reciprocate added)

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