14th March 2013

“The most significant document of the Enlightenment, in my view, was not the Declaration of Independence of 1776 or the Déclaration des droits de l'Homme et du citoyen of 1789. It was the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom of 1786, first proposed by Thomas Jefferson seven years earlier. It codified the separation of religious and civic authority, by insisting that there be no religious test for public office. Religious belief was a private choice, but the only interest that the state has in religion is to defend the liberty of its citizens to worship any god or none.”

Oliver Kamm

4 Responses to “14th March 2013”

  1. Sinjin Smythe Says:


  2. D Says:

    Here is “A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom” indicating Jefferson’s original draft and the edited version that was adopted.


  3. Jeff Says:

    Any bets on TJ’s reply when Adams and Franklin mentioned this one in the discussions about him writing the Declaration?

    IMHO it was probably a muttered, “It was better when I wrote than when they passed it.”

  4. Bruce Williams Says:

    Thanx Sinjin and D. Very helpful stuff – of which I was unaware.