'What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some insta

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"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people." James Madison A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 1785. "I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved--the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!" John Adams letter to Thomas Jefferson This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it. John Adams Letter to Jefferson "[I]t may not be easy, in every possible case, to trace the line of separation between the rights of religion and the Civil authority with such distinctness as to avoid collisions and doubts on unessential points. The tendency to unsurpastion on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded agst. by an entire abstinence of the Gov't from interfence in any way whatsoever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect agst. trespasses on its legal rights by others." [James Madison, "James Madison on Religious Liberty", edited by Robert S. Alley, ISBN 0-8975-298-X. pp. 237-238]


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