Thomas Jefferson, civil government and religion

David Barton will be coming out with a book called The Jefferson Lies next spring. I noted here that he is skilled at spreading them which will make the book entertaining at the least.

As a service in the effort at offsetting lies about Thomas Jefferson, I thought it might be helpful to point Barton to a letter from Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper. The letter, written on February 10, 1814 sets out Jefferson’s argument that British common law was not influenced by Christianity in any direct manner. Thus, any indirect claim that our law was based on Christianity indirectly via influence from Britain is also suspicious. Barton promotes the notion that American law derives from the Bible. He has also argued that Jefferson did not mean for the state to separate Christianity from the operation of the state.

Jefferson, on the other hand, wrote to Thomas Cooper that Christianity came to Britain after common law was established. Jefferson began his letter,

DEAR SIR, — In my letter of January 16, I promised you a sample from my common-place book, of the pious disposition of the English judges, to connive at the frauds of the clergy, a disposition which has even rendered them faithful allies in practice. When I was a student of the law, now half a century ago, after getting through Coke Littleton, whose matter cannot be abridged, I was in the habit of abridging and common-placing what I read meriting it, and of sometimes mixing my own reflections on the subject. I now enclose you the extract from these entries which I promised. They were written at a time of life when I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led, and bearding every authority which stood in their way. This must be the apology, if you find the conclusions bolder than historical facts and principles will warrant. Accept with them the assurances of my great esteem and respect.

Then, Jefferson included a portion of his writings on the subject from a past effort. He notes that the belief in the Christian influence on British law has been assumed by various writers, but not proven. He says they have all quoted each other as authorities.

Thus we find this string of authorities, when examined to the beginning, all hanging on the same hook, a perverted expression of Prisot’s, or on one another, or nobody. Thus Finch quotes Prisot; Wingate also; Sheppard quotes Prisot, Finch and Wingate; Hale cites nobody; the court in Woolston’s case cite Hale; Wood cites Woolston’s case; Blackstone that and Hale; and Lord Mansfield, like Hale, ventures it on his own authority.

The crux of the matter for Jefferson is that Christianity was not adopted by the British as common law. He wrote:

For we know that the common law is that system of law which was introduced by the Saxons on their settlement in England, and altered from time to time by proper legislative authority from that time to the date of Magna Charta, which terminates the period of the common law, or lex non scripta, and commences that of the statute law, or Lex Scripta. This settlement took place about the middle of the fifth century. But Christianity was not introduced till the seventh century; the conversion of the first christian king of the Heptarchy having taken place about the year 598, and that of the last about 686. Here, then, was a space of two hundred years, during which the common law was in existence, and Christianity no part of it. If it ever was adopted, therefore, into the common law, it must have been between the introduction of Christianity and the date of the Magna Charta. But of the laws of this period we have a tolerable collection by Lambard and Wilkins, probably not perfect, but neither very defective; and if any one chooses to build a doctrine on any law of that period, supposed to have been lost, it is incumbent on him to prove it to have existed, and what were its contents. These were so far alterations of the common law, and became themselves a part of it. But none of these adopt Christianity as a part of the common law. If, therefore, from the settlement of the Saxons to the introduction of Christianity among them, that system of religion could not be a part of the common law, because they were not yet Christians, and if, having their laws from that period to the close of the common law, we are all able to find among them no such act of adoption, we may safely affirm (though contradicted by all the judges and writers on earth) that Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law. Another cogent proof of this truth is drawn from the silence of certain writers on the common law. Bracton gives us a very complete and scientific treatise of the whole body of the common law. He wrote this about the close of the reign of Henry III., a very few years after the date of the Magna Charta. We consider this book as the more valuable, as it was written about fore gives us the former in its ultimate state. Bracton, too, was an ecclesiastic, and would certainly not have failed to inform us of the adoption of Christianity as a part of the common law, had any such adoption ever taken place. (my emphasis)

Then Jefferson ends his argument by noting that Exodus was meant for the Jews and the teachings of Jesus were meant to be followed as conscience dictated not by coercion of the state.

In truth, the alliance between Church and State in England has ever made their judges accomplices in the frauds of the clergy; and even bolder than they are. For instead of being contented with these four surreptitious chapters of Exodus, they have taken the whole leap, and declared at once that the whole Bible and Testament in a lump, make a part of the common law; ante 873: the first judicial declaration of which was by this same Sir Matthew Hale. And thus they incorporate into the English code laws made for the Jews alone, and the precepts of the gospel, intended by their benevolent author as obligatory only in foro concientiae; and they arm the whole with the coercions of municipal law. In doing this, too, they have not even used the Connecticut caution of declaring, as is done in their blue laws, that the laws of God shall be the laws of their land, except where their own contradict them; but they swallow the yea and nay together. Finally, in answer to Fortescue Aland’s question why the ten commandments should not now be a part of the common law of England? we may say they are not because they never were made so by legislative authority, the document which has imposed that doubt on him being a manifest forgery.

Note at the end that he denies that the 10 Commandments were ever a part of the common law of England. As for America, one cannot read this letter and think that Jefferson supported the concept, popular among proponents of a Christian America, that the “laws of God shall be the laws of their land.”

34 thoughts on “Thomas Jefferson, civil government and religion”

  1. Teresa =

    The Catholic Church, until Vatican II, held that slavery was not against the Natural Law, else how do we reconcile St. Paul.

    StraightGrandmother= Is this true? I mean I know you write it, and I take you to be a credible person, ergo this must be true. I am in absolute shock! Shock!

  2. StraightGrandmother (SG), you don’t have to take my word for it; credibility, not withstanding. Check out the Catholic Encyclopedia, online, any edition that pops up. The essay(s) on slavery are difficult to wade through; but, well worth the time. The Natural Law argument is very essential to the argument, using St. Paul’s own words as justification.

    Way off topic here, SG, so I’ll keep this short. Slavery is one of the top 3 issues that can take apart the Church’s claim to infallibility. The three are: usury, geocentrism, and slavery. Frankly, SG, I’m not sure in my heart of hearts, if the Church, pushed into a corner, has ‘changed’ her opinion on slavery. She’s simply mute on the subject.

  3. It should be noted, while Jefferson may not have believed British common law was not based on christianity, it doesn’t mean it was not.

    so it is not incorrect to argue that christianity influenced british common law, just to argue that Jefferson claimed christianity influenced british common law.

  4. @ SG .. IMHO .. I think you are judging people of history a bit harshly. Each of them lived in their own culture and time frame. You might be surprised to find that even folks like Abraham Lincoln probably did not view equal rights quite the same as we view them today. History, culture, and people’s understanding through time are a living breathing thing. Thus, if we judge previous culture(s) though our own modern lens we are IMHO making unfair comparisons. It is better to look at the progress of history and the steps that brought us here today rather than insisting that people of history arrive where we are today. Our modern culture is a result of the progress of culture and history down through time.

    Bringing this somewhat back on topic .. the efforts of (some) Christians to revise history in the past to justify their present view is somewhat like what I said above in reverse. First .. they are rewriting 200 year old history to make it match up with what they believe for today .. Second .. even if what they said about Jefferson were true .. their argument(s) show a failure to realize the progress of history .. that ideals and principles are not static and trapped .. they evolve and expand over time. For example .. even if we were culturally a Christian nation (and Christianity certainly was dominant in that time) the constitution and laws they wrote left ample room for freedom of all religions in this country .. not just the most popular view of the day. This is what true freedom is ..this is how the principle of freedom progresses .. not the narrow “Christianity only” view.

    Dave

  5. This I agree with Teresa, you make a good point,

    This is much like what Warren, et. al., are saying about the infrequency of change in orientation. It’s not a belief. It’s not a claim. It’s fact. NARTH is about belief rather than fact.

    When Warren goes to the sources a statement or a research paper is based on, and one by one validates or discredits the source (as he does here http://104.131.70.39/2011/11/28/narth-rewards-what-it-does/ ) he is doing in medicine what Jefferson did in law.

    Teresa you said,

    The foundation was set to amend, when necessary, our Constitution to accommodate our greater understanding of social and economic rights.

    StraightGrandmother= Oh Teresa they knew what they were doing, they did not need “greater understanding” they knew but they did it anyway because they could, and because they benefited. I am not inclined to give them a free pass based on “well those were the times.” They knew then, just as Christians know now that the love between two sexual minorities is no different than the love between two heterosexuals. They know, but they DISCRIMINATE anyway because they can and it makes them feel superior.

  6. It should be noted, while Jefferson may not have believed British common law was not based on christianity, it doesn’t mean it was not.

    Ken, I think the point is that Jefferson just didn’t ‘believe’ British common law was not based on Christianity. Jefferson did not operate on ‘belief’; but, rather fact. He studied the point. He researched it. Such as Warren has shown.

    It’s rather much like science. Basically, Jefferson is saying to others, I’ve looked at the evidence, seen shallow research by others … here’s the result. Prove me wrong.

    This is much like what Warren, et. al., are saying about the infrequency of change in orientation. It’s not a belief. It’s not a claim. It’s fact. NARTH is about belief rather than fact.

    Jefferson, as were others of the Founding Fathers, were dedicated scientists, pre-rationalists.

    If Christians want to maintain British Common Law is based on Christianity, it’s up to them to prove it. Just saying so, doesn’t make it so.

  7. SG, I have to respectfully disagree with you on your current assessment of our Founding Fathers. Within the constraints and limits that were theirs, they enacted several documents unlike the world has ever known. These documents have allowed generations of Americans, and later other countries, to live under the greatest amount of freedom, to the greatest amount of people, ever.

    Certainly, I agree with you about the issue of slavery, as well as women’s individual personhood and rights. But, the groundwork was set to allow the ‘peculiar institution’ to die; unfortunately, not without the WBTS. The foundation was set to amend, when necessary, our Constitution to accommodate our greater understanding of social and economic rights.

    I thank God I live in this country, as tattered and torn as it is, today. I’m grateful that a good portion of our Founding Fathers kept religion out of basic documents; and, left the way open for our Freedoms, as indicated in the Bill of Rights.

    I would not want to live under a Catholic or Protestant Theocracy, Islamic Theocracy, Jewish Theocracy, etc. How I live my spiritual life is my basic freedom.

    David Barton is selling a fictitious past to enslave us all to a future theocracy.

  8. I LOVE these articles!!! I really like seeing,what are they called again (?) the Dominionists being called liars.

    It is so funny that you would write this article today as just within the last two days I read up quite a bit on Jefferson and slavery. It all started when I bought that new John Shore Book

    Wings on a Pig: Why the “Christian” View of Gays Doesn’t Work

    as a Kindle Book for $9.95 even though I don’t have a Kindle. Amazon has a free app and you can read Kindle Books on your computer. Kindle has many free books so I downloaded and read a really good one

    “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself – Jacobs, Harriet Ann, 1813-1897.

    The book written by a slave girl left me unquiet so I went on the internet to read more articles about slavery and then about Jefferson and slavery. Many times in the book and this article in particular had me crying,

    Recollections of Slavery by a Runaway Slave,

    http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/runaway/runaway.html

    I read quite a few papers, yes even scholarly papers on Jefferson and slavery. What I took away was that Jefferson considered Africans human beings, however he did not think they were as smart as or equal to whites except for morally. He felt that they had the same morals.

    After finishing the book and reading many articles what I take away is shame. I am so ashamed at our forefathers. How many times have we said, “Our Founding fathers” like they are demi-gods or something, I know I have. But there is that gaping hole, that absence of morality that they codified into law, the idea and practice of slavery. We truly are not there yet as a country, sexual minorities are really our last group of people to have specific laws enacted to keep them un-equal to everybody else.

    We are not a perfect country, our Forefathers were not perfect, even Jefferson. They were not very good Christians were they? Even Jefferson he had to sell slaves to raise capital to pay off debts and he separated slave families. Keeping some members of the slave family and selling off others. Jefferson was no Saint. He kind of reminds me of NOM, he was good for the people who were white (except apparently for Irish who were brought over as slaves) just like NOM is good for Heterosexuals only. But neither one of them really were/are good for ALL the people. Both of them harbored/harbors Discrimination in their thoughts and actions.

  9. StraightGrandmother (SG), you don’t have to take my word for it; credibility, not withstanding. Check out the Catholic Encyclopedia, online, any edition that pops up. The essay(s) on slavery are difficult to wade through; but, well worth the time. The Natural Law argument is very essential to the argument, using St. Paul’s own words as justification.

    Way off topic here, SG, so I’ll keep this short. Slavery is one of the top 3 issues that can take apart the Church’s claim to infallibility. The three are: usury, geocentrism, and slavery. Frankly, SG, I’m not sure in my heart of hearts, if the Church, pushed into a corner, has ‘changed’ her opinion on slavery. She’s simply mute on the subject.

  10. Teresa =

    The Catholic Church, until Vatican II, held that slavery was not against the Natural Law, else how do we reconcile St. Paul.

    StraightGrandmother= Is this true? I mean I know you write it, and I take you to be a credible person, ergo this must be true. I am in absolute shock! Shock!

  11. Ken,

    Thanks.

    Jefferson’s words cannot be twisted to say he believed Christianity was at the root of British common law, as Barton asserts.

    But Christianity is likely pervasive and persuasive in creating British common law (according to others)…but starting from which century and how can one possibly precisely weigh its importance.

    It is a good question to ask how knowledgeable Jefferson was about this history, although the citations above quoted by Warren suggest more than a passing interest.

    Any other historians reading this posting?

  12. Ken,

    Thanks.

    Jefferson’s words cannot be twisted to say he believed Christianity was at the root of British common law, as Barton asserts.

    But Christianity is likely pervasive and persuasive in creating British common law (according to others)…but starting from which century and how can one possibly precisely weigh its importance.

    It is a good question to ask how knowledgeable Jefferson was about this history, although the citations above quoted by Warren suggest more than a passing interest.

    Any other historians reading this posting?

  13. David Blakeslee# ~ Nov 30, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    “Thanks for making this comment:

    It should be noted, while Jefferson may not have believed British common law was not based on christianity, it doesn’t mean it was not.

    …and I would welcome any supporting material.”

    Well, Jefferson is downplaying how significant christianity was in England. Further, Henry II, who had a significant hand in laying out british common law, was christian. Further, christianity had long since been the religion of England by Henry II’s time. So it is likely a majority of the judges, magistrates, ministers etc who were involved in forming british common law were in fact christian. Now, that doesn’t mean their judgments where ruled by their religion, but I suspect christianity played a bigger role in forming british common law than Jefferson would have people believe.

    Does anyone know if Jefferson studied british history enough to be considered an expert in the topic?

  14. David Blakeslee# ~ Nov 30, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    “Thanks for making this comment:

    It should be noted, while Jefferson may not have believed British common law was not based on christianity, it doesn’t mean it was not.

    …and I would welcome any supporting material.”

    Well, Jefferson is downplaying how significant christianity was in England. Further, Henry II, who had a significant hand in laying out british common law, was christian. Further, christianity had long since been the religion of England by Henry II’s time. So it is likely a majority of the judges, magistrates, ministers etc who were involved in forming british common law were in fact christian. Now, that doesn’t mean their judgments where ruled by their religion, but I suspect christianity played a bigger role in forming british common law than Jefferson would have people believe.

    Does anyone know if Jefferson studied british history enough to be considered an expert in the topic?

  15. Here are his credentials:

    Barton graduated in 1972 from Aledo High School in Aledo, Texas; a suburb of Fort Worth.[1] He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious education from Oral Roberts University in 1976.[13][14]

    A hobbyist in history?

  16. David – If David Barton was a historian then you might be accurate. However, he is not as I am not. We are two lay people reading the same stuff and coming to different outcomes. My thoughts definitely concur with Christian historians I know and most of his do not.

    Jefferson advanced a pretty good argument to support his case, and the next step would be for someone to advance evidence to the contrary.

    My point is the Barton will take quotes of Jefferson’s out of context and ignore material like this.

  17. Ok…

    I don’t know how we check-in with any authority on this topic when so few of us have any expertise in the historical sciences (sic).

    Warren,

    I appreciate these postings, but I don’t know why you aren’t getting an expert to make these postings (except that they are unwilling due to other demands on their time). A psychologist arguing against a historian seems flawed. Maybe the facts are just overwhelming :).

    Anyways, I support your advanced training in the law and history.

    Ken,

    Thanks for making this comment:

    It should be noted, while Jefferson may not have believed British common law was not based on christianity, it doesn’t mean it was not.

    …and I would welcome any supporting material.

  18. Patrocles, when was the church against slavery? When did that happen? Certainly, not with St. Paul; and, not for centuries, afterward. Even into the middle-to-late 19th century; many denominations of Christianity swore by the fact slavery was right and good … it’s in the Bible. It was basically the changing Unitarian Church that led the way for the abolition.

    The Catholic Church, until Vatican II, held that slavery was not against the Natural Law, else how do we reconcile St. Paul.

    Back to Jefferson: there was no unwritten law between the ‘supposed Christianization and the Magna Carta: only Common Law.

  19. Here are his credentials:

    Barton graduated in 1972 from Aledo High School in Aledo, Texas; a suburb of Fort Worth.[1] He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious education from Oral Roberts University in 1976.[13][14]

    A hobbyist in history?

  20. David – If David Barton was a historian then you might be accurate. However, he is not as I am not. We are two lay people reading the same stuff and coming to different outcomes. My thoughts definitely concur with Christian historians I know and most of his do not.

    Jefferson advanced a pretty good argument to support his case, and the next step would be for someone to advance evidence to the contrary.

    My point is the Barton will take quotes of Jefferson’s out of context and ignore material like this.

  21. Ok…

    I don’t know how we check-in with any authority on this topic when so few of us have any expertise in the historical sciences (sic).

    Warren,

    I appreciate these postings, but I don’t know why you aren’t getting an expert to make these postings (except that they are unwilling due to other demands on their time). A psychologist arguing against a historian seems flawed. Maybe the facts are just overwhelming :).

    Anyways, I support your advanced training in the law and history.

    Ken,

    Thanks for making this comment:

    It should be noted, while Jefferson may not have believed British common law was not based on christianity, it doesn’t mean it was not.

    …and I would welcome any supporting material.

  22. What’s about the abolition of slavery? Slavery was not unusual with German tribes, but the church was against it. Wouldn’ that be the unwritten law Jefferson looks for which was imposed between christianization and Magna Charta?

  23. @ SG .. IMHO .. I think you are judging people of history a bit harshly. Each of them lived in their own culture and time frame. You might be surprised to find that even folks like Abraham Lincoln probably did not view equal rights quite the same as we view them today. History, culture, and people’s understanding through time are a living breathing thing. Thus, if we judge previous culture(s) though our own modern lens we are IMHO making unfair comparisons. It is better to look at the progress of history and the steps that brought us here today rather than insisting that people of history arrive where we are today. Our modern culture is a result of the progress of culture and history down through time.

    Bringing this somewhat back on topic .. the efforts of (some) Christians to revise history in the past to justify their present view is somewhat like what I said above in reverse. First .. they are rewriting 200 year old history to make it match up with what they believe for today .. Second .. even if what they said about Jefferson were true .. their argument(s) show a failure to realize the progress of history .. that ideals and principles are not static and trapped .. they evolve and expand over time. For example .. even if we were culturally a Christian nation (and Christianity certainly was dominant in that time) the constitution and laws they wrote left ample room for freedom of all religions in this country .. not just the most popular view of the day. This is what true freedom is ..this is how the principle of freedom progresses .. not the narrow “Christianity only” view.

    Dave

  24. Patrocles, when was the church against slavery? When did that happen? Certainly, not with St. Paul; and, not for centuries, afterward. Even into the middle-to-late 19th century; many denominations of Christianity swore by the fact slavery was right and good … it’s in the Bible. It was basically the changing Unitarian Church that led the way for the abolition.

    The Catholic Church, until Vatican II, held that slavery was not against the Natural Law, else how do we reconcile St. Paul.

    Back to Jefferson: there was no unwritten law between the ‘supposed Christianization and the Magna Carta: only Common Law.

  25. What’s about the abolition of slavery? Slavery was not unusual with German tribes, but the church was against it. Wouldn’ that be the unwritten law Jefferson looks for which was imposed between christianization and Magna Charta?

  26. The trouble with wishful thinking is that it will always trump reason. Barton will always have wishful thinking on his side.

  27. This I agree with Teresa, you make a good point,

    This is much like what Warren, et. al., are saying about the infrequency of change in orientation. It’s not a belief. It’s not a claim. It’s fact. NARTH is about belief rather than fact.

    When Warren goes to the sources a statement or a research paper is based on, and one by one validates or discredits the source (as he does here http://104.131.70.39/2011/11/28/narth-rewards-what-it-does/ ) he is doing in medicine what Jefferson did in law.

    Teresa you said,

    The foundation was set to amend, when necessary, our Constitution to accommodate our greater understanding of social and economic rights.

    StraightGrandmother= Oh Teresa they knew what they were doing, they did not need “greater understanding” they knew but they did it anyway because they could, and because they benefited. I am not inclined to give them a free pass based on “well those were the times.” They knew then, just as Christians know now that the love between two sexual minorities is no different than the love between two heterosexuals. They know, but they DISCRIMINATE anyway because they can and it makes them feel superior.

  28. It should be noted, while Jefferson may not have believed British common law was not based on christianity, it doesn’t mean it was not.

    Ken, I think the point is that Jefferson just didn’t ‘believe’ British common law was not based on Christianity. Jefferson did not operate on ‘belief’; but, rather fact. He studied the point. He researched it. Such as Warren has shown.

    It’s rather much like science. Basically, Jefferson is saying to others, I’ve looked at the evidence, seen shallow research by others … here’s the result. Prove me wrong.

    This is much like what Warren, et. al., are saying about the infrequency of change in orientation. It’s not a belief. It’s not a claim. It’s fact. NARTH is about belief rather than fact.

    Jefferson, as were others of the Founding Fathers, were dedicated scientists, pre-rationalists.

    If Christians want to maintain British Common Law is based on Christianity, it’s up to them to prove it. Just saying so, doesn’t make it so.

  29. It should be noted, while Jefferson may not have believed British common law was not based on christianity, it doesn’t mean it was not.

    so it is not incorrect to argue that christianity influenced british common law, just to argue that Jefferson claimed christianity influenced british common law.

  30. The trouble with wishful thinking is that it will always trump reason. Barton will always have wishful thinking on his side.

  31. SG, I have to respectfully disagree with you on your current assessment of our Founding Fathers. Within the constraints and limits that were theirs, they enacted several documents unlike the world has ever known. These documents have allowed generations of Americans, and later other countries, to live under the greatest amount of freedom, to the greatest amount of people, ever.

    Certainly, I agree with you about the issue of slavery, as well as women’s individual personhood and rights. But, the groundwork was set to allow the ‘peculiar institution’ to die; unfortunately, not without the WBTS. The foundation was set to amend, when necessary, our Constitution to accommodate our greater understanding of social and economic rights.

    I thank God I live in this country, as tattered and torn as it is, today. I’m grateful that a good portion of our Founding Fathers kept religion out of basic documents; and, left the way open for our Freedoms, as indicated in the Bill of Rights.

    I would not want to live under a Catholic or Protestant Theocracy, Islamic Theocracy, Jewish Theocracy, etc. How I live my spiritual life is my basic freedom.

    David Barton is selling a fictitious past to enslave us all to a future theocracy.

  32. I LOVE these articles!!! I really like seeing,what are they called again (?) the Dominionists being called liars.

    It is so funny that you would write this article today as just within the last two days I read up quite a bit on Jefferson and slavery. It all started when I bought that new John Shore Book

    Wings on a Pig: Why the “Christian” View of Gays Doesn’t Work

    as a Kindle Book for $9.95 even though I don’t have a Kindle. Amazon has a free app and you can read Kindle Books on your computer. Kindle has many free books so I downloaded and read a really good one

    “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself – Jacobs, Harriet Ann, 1813-1897.

    The book written by a slave girl left me unquiet so I went on the internet to read more articles about slavery and then about Jefferson and slavery. Many times in the book and this article in particular had me crying,

    Recollections of Slavery by a Runaway Slave,

    http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/runaway/runaway.html

    I read quite a few papers, yes even scholarly papers on Jefferson and slavery. What I took away was that Jefferson considered Africans human beings, however he did not think they were as smart as or equal to whites except for morally. He felt that they had the same morals.

    After finishing the book and reading many articles what I take away is shame. I am so ashamed at our forefathers. How many times have we said, “Our Founding fathers” like they are demi-gods or something, I know I have. But there is that gaping hole, that absence of morality that they codified into law, the idea and practice of slavery. We truly are not there yet as a country, sexual minorities are really our last group of people to have specific laws enacted to keep them un-equal to everybody else.

    We are not a perfect country, our Forefathers were not perfect, even Jefferson. They were not very good Christians were they? Even Jefferson he had to sell slaves to raise capital to pay off debts and he separated slave families. Keeping some members of the slave family and selling off others. Jefferson was no Saint. He kind of reminds me of NOM, he was good for the people who were white (except apparently for Irish who were brought over as slaves) just like NOM is good for Heterosexuals only. But neither one of them really were/are good for ALL the people. Both of them harbored/harbors Discrimination in their thoughts and actions.

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