Tag Archives: Church

Reverse course and leave the church alone!

I think it was an error in our officer to shut the doors of the church, & in the Governor to refer it to the Roman catholic head. The priests must settle their differences in their own way, provided they commit no breach of the peace. If they break the peace they should be arrested. On our principles all church-discipline is voluntary; and never to be enforced by the public authority; but on the contrary to be punished when it extends to acts of force. The Govr. should restore the keys of the church to the priest who was in possession.
To James Madison, July 5, 1804

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Constitutional leaders protect people’s rights to protest peacefully.
Louisiana Governor Claiborne wrote to Secretary of State Madison about strongly disputing factions within a Catholic Church in New Orleans. A local officer, fearing the public might be endangered, locked the church doors, forbade either side entrance, and asked a more senior official in the Church to decide the matter.

Jefferson called this a mistake. Disputants within the church who broke no laws were not subject to any government action. This was the same theme as in his Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, enacted more than 20 years before. That law, which dis-established the official church in his home state, limited government involvement in church affairs to people’s illegal actions only. In 1790, the First Amendment to the Constitution clearly tied the national government’s hands in most church matters.

The President ordered the return of the church’s keys.

“Thank you so much for the great job
you did as Thomas Jefferson.”
Missouri Mappers Association
Mr. Jefferson will do a great job for your audience.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
Leave a comment Posted in Louisiana, Religion Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Who’s gonna pay the preacher?

Whereas by a late act of General assembly … it is left to the members of each religious society to employ such teachers as they think fit … and to maintain the same by their free and voluntary contributions: We the subscribers …  do hereby oblige ourselves … pay to the said [clergyman] Charles Clay of Albemarle … the several sums affixed to our respective names on the 25th day of December next, and also to make the like annual paiment on the 25th. day of December in every year following until we shall withdraw the same …
Subscription to Support a Clergyman in Charlottesville, February 1777

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Humble leaders value spiritual encouragement.
This lengthy document, written from a draft prepared by Jefferson, makes these points, central to his views of religion:
1. Each religious group is free to employ and support their own teachers.
2. While pledging to support this minister, we profess affection for those “who happen to differ from us in points of conscience…”
3. We need the encouragement and support of our church and its teachers.
4. The clergyman has devoted time, labor and expense to become our teacher.
5. We should support him by “free and voluntary contributions.”

Nineteen names followed this declaration along with an annual pledge amount, Jefferson’s name tops the list. His pledge was more than double anyone else’s. The annual payments were to be made on Christmas day.

Virginia still had an “official” tax supported church and would for another decade until Jefferson’s dis-establishment law was adopted. The provision above was to support the church he wanted to, in addition to the one he was required to.

“Patrick was reliable and easy to work with.
He made modifications in his presentation to meet our particular needs.”
Chairman & CEO, Schoor DePalma Engineers and Consultants (650 employees), New Jersey

Thomas Jefferson will tailor his message to your audience.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739

Leave a comment Posted in Religion Tagged , , , , , , , |