Yes, we should read what Jefferson said
In his letter to the editor of Dec. 6, Roy Grubbs ended by stating that people “would benefit from reading what Thomas Jefferson had to say about the separation of church and state.”
Grubbs would do well to read not only what Jefferson had to say, but also his thoughts concerning the part religion should play in our national discourse.
In 1816, in a letter to Charles Thomson, Jefferson wrote: “I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus.”
As to the term, “separation of church and state,” Grubbs takes the term totally out of context in order to use the statement to justify his own anti-religion views.
In his letter to the Danbury Baptist Association dated Jan. 1, 1802, Jefferson wrote, “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole people which declared that there legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State.”
The wall Jefferson spoke of was one that restricted traffic in one direction only; government should not, indeed could not dictate the religious practices of its citizens, on the other hand government is answerable to the citizenry in all matters.
Then there is Fisher Ames, delegate to the Constitutional Convention from the state of Massachusetts, who is credited with writing the First Amendment to our Constitution, who wrote, “No one ever became, or can become truly eloquent without being a reader of the Bible, and an admirer of the purity and sublimity of its language.”
Fisher Ames was among the outspoken supporters of the Bible's central role in all of education. As the Word of God, Ames held, the Bible should be at the very center of the curriculum in our public schools; hardly the words of one wanting God taken out of our national discourse.
Finally, there is John Adams, our second president who said. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
It is only because this country was founded by Christians, with Christian principles, that peoples of all faiths from all corners of earth have been able to come to America's shores and prosper ... even the Roy Grubbs' of the world who professes to believe in nothing.