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Time to look at 1797 treaty
Regarding the ad hominen argument by J.P. Melchionne in his Dec. 10 letter to the editor ("Yes, we should read what Jefferson said"), I invite your readers to look up "The Treaty of Tripoli."
It was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, receiving ratification unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797, and signed by Adams, taking effect on June 10, 1797.
"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion, — as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims], — and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."
The treaty is cited as historical evidence by commentators and news magazines in the modern-day controversy over whether there was religious intent by the founders of the United States government. Article 11 of the treaty has been interpreted as an official denial of an exclusively Christian basis for the U.S. government.
Thomas Jefferson was a Deist, as were George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Ethan Allen, James Madison and James Monroe.
Read "The Age of Reason" by Thomas Paine, a book that so outraged his contemporaries that he died rejected and despised by the nation that had once revered him as the father of the American Revolution.
Read "The Jefferson Bible" by Thomas Jefferson, which eliminated all miracles attributed to Jesus and ended with his burial.
There was a time when religion and government were one — it was called "The Dark Ages."