One more who would be a Tory in hindsight…

It’s not so much being a bad loser as much as knowing how things turned out from the War for American Independence that it really was an ill-conceived act.

There was one rebel whom I thought might still support the errors of his ways: Thomas Jefferson. My opinion has since changed since one has to remember that he was the author of The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which was one thing he was proudest at accomplishing:

Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.

Jefferson (as well a James Madison) believed that Religion was something that must be left to the conviction and conscience of every person; and it is every person’s right man to exercise it as they may choose. And if we are talking rights, this is one of the unalienable rights of man.

Jefferson wrote in his autobiography that:

The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason and right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word “Jesus Christ,” so that it should read, “a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and Infidel of every denomination.

Unlike The Maryland Toleration Act, the Virginia Act provided for freedom of conscience for all creeds, not just those that were Christians.

The rights of conscience are beyond the just reach of any human power. They are given by God, and cannot be encroached upon by human authority, without a criminal disobedience of the precepts of natural and revealed religion. Additionally, It was the understanding of the dangers from ecclesiastical ambition, the bigotry of spiritual pride, and the intolerance of sects, as exemplified in by the historic divisions that it was deemed advisable to exclude from the national government all power to act upon the subject of religion and religious establishment.

I am of the opinion that Thomas Jefferson and James Madison would be disgusted by the activities of the religious right. They would be even more outraged that the religious right dared to do so in the belief that they were following the priciples of either the Declaration of Independence or US Constitution.

As I like to say, why bother demanding independence when there already was an established church under the British regime?

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: