the restoration of the rights of conscience to two thirds of the citizens of Virginia in the beginning of the revolution [the disestablishment of state church in 1786], has merited to those who had agency in it, the everlasting hostility of such of the clergy as have a hankering after the union of church & state. the right of political opinion is as sacred as that of religious, and altho’ a man’s political opinions ought to have influence in confiding political trusts, they should no more affect the state of society than his religious opinions.
To Daniel D’Oyley, August 15, 1802
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders oppose religious control but not religious influence.
South Carolinian D’Oyley forwarded to the President a July 4th address by a Baptist pastor in Charleston. That clergyman supported the revolution a quarter century before and the current administration’s efforts to safeguard the nation’s republican principles, especially the separation of church and state. Such reasoned support from the clergy was rare.
Jefferson harkened back to his successful effort in the 1780s to break the official tie between the Anglican church and Virginia’s government. Those who supported that effort bore the wrath of the clergy whose favored position was eliminated.
Both political and religious rights were sacred and should be acted upon, but one was not superior to the other.
“Your portrayal of Thomas Jefferson was both entertaining and informative …
adding a unique element to the conference program.”
Co-Conference Coordinator, Natural Areas Association
Mr. Jefferson will, indeed, add a unique element to your meeting!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739