Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Gold Mine of Quotes from Thomas Jefferson for use in the argument on the "moment of silence" in public schools.

Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

The impious presumption of legislators and and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath stablished and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time: That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical;...
-- Thomas Jefferson, expressing concern over the authoritarian interpretation of religious views, and advocating, rather, that states allow an individual to use her or his own reason to establish or settle these opinions, in the opening passage to Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1786), quoted from Merrill D Peterson, ed., Thomas Jefferson: Writings (1984), p. 346


To preserve the freedom of the human mind then and freedom of the press, every spirit should be ready to devote itself to martyrdom; for as long as we may think as we will, and speak as we think, the condition of man will proceed in improvement.
-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Green Mumford, June 18, 1799

http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/quotes/jefferson.htm
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