'What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some insta
"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."
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!"
letter to Thomas Jefferson
This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no
religion in it.
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]
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank