(1743 – 1826) Thomas Jefferson, of the Declaration of Independence and third President of the United States, was this nation’s greatest champion of representative democracy and the rights of man. He was our most eloquent spokesman on the founding principles of American self-government. Many make the mistake to assume that our forefathers were all Christians. As one of the designer’s of America, Thomas Jefferson had some very different but important views regarding religion and a people’s ability to worship freely.
Although Jefferson believed in a Creator, his concept of it resembled that of the god of deism (the term “Nature’s God” used by deists of the time). With his scientific bent, Jefferson sought to organize his thoughts on religion. He rejected Christianity as being superstitious and mystic. Jefferson even went so far as to edit the Gospels, removing the miracles and mystery of Jesus, leaving only what he deemed the correct moral philosophy of Jesus.
Thomas Jefferson quotes can be readily found that expound his cynical attitude toward religion and Christianity. Yet there is truth in some of what Jefferson observed about those who claim Christ as their Savior.
“Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity.”
“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.”
“History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.”
“Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.”
“Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindu and Infidel of every denomination.”
Above is an excerpt from his autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom
“I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”
“It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.”
“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not. ”
“Most bad government has grown out of too much government.”
“What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? ”
“The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits. ”
“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. ”
“Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now. ”
“Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. The course of history shows us that as a government grows, liberty decreases.”
“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
“Those who hammer their guns into plows, will plow for those who do not.”