Forgotten patriot: 17th century physician did the work to legislate religious freedom

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  • Ragosta Rixeyville, VA
    July 15, 2013 6:49 a.m.

    You might read beyond these letters. Evangelicals sent hundreds of petitions to the Virginia General Assembly demanding religious freedom, which they interpreted to include a strict separation (saying that mixing the two corrupted both -- it wasn't a one way street). See Wellspring of Liberty. Not only have modern revisionists ignored the 18th century evangelicals (and Roger Williams), but one wonders what good they see in government directing, encouraging, dictating prayer. Try reading some John Leland (one of the leading evangelicals of the 18th century).

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    July 6, 2013 1:09 p.m.

    he truth wrote:

    "The wall jefferson spoke of was a one way wall against the government."

    Please provide proof.

    I have read Jefferson's original letter several times, as well as some of the best Constitutional legal minds in our history, and there is nothing to support your assertion.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    July 5, 2013 5:10 p.m.

    @The Scientist


    Only historians that value modern opinion over original document.

    The wall jefferson spoke of was a one way wall against the government.

    Again read the original letter and it's context (the letter it was replying to) and reject contemporary opinion.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    July 3, 2013 6:51 p.m.

    the truth,

    there is none in your comment. Every historian worth his/her salt knows and agrees Jefferson was all about a "wall of separation between Church and State".

    You seem to be the one intentionally mis-reading history.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    July 3, 2013 6:02 p.m.


    They NEVER fought for a strict separation of church and state.

    The way they interpreted and practice the 1st amendment belies that.

    They only wanted non-government interference in their churches and worship.

    You really need read the whole letter and of the context of the letter that Jefferson wrote.

    "Separation of church and state" proponents got it entirely wrong, intentionally so.

  • Ragosta Rixeyville, VA
    July 3, 2013 9:34 a.m.

    Both Clarke and Williams were intellectual and political leaders in their time, but their relative historic obscurity did not start in the 20th century. Even in the eighteenth century, as Jefferson, Madison, and evangelicals fought for religious freedom and a strict separation of church and state, Clarke and Williams were not being discussed in detail. See Religious Freedom: Jefferson's Legacy, America's Creed. Why this was so and the historical significance of the fact are more complicated. In any case, we should be thankful for a historic legacy of religious freedom (to which we continue to aspire).

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 3, 2013 8:25 a.m.

    It's sad the churches and religious of today work so hard to erode the freedom that enables them.