The Hidden Agenda of
The "Separation of Church and State"

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We consider and refute three other charges against Jefferson's wall metaphor elsewhere in this web page.


ARGUMENT TWO: Jefferson's "separation of church and state" letter was hastily written and does not accurately represent Jefferson's view of church and state.

On the contrary, Jefferson saw his letter to the Danbury Baptists as an important opportunity to clarify his policies concerning church and state and, hence, crafted the letter carefully. Indeed, Jefferson was so concerned about the wording of his letter that he sent a working draft to at least two people, Gideon Granger, his Postmaster General, and Levi Lincoln, his Attorney General. According to historian Dumas Malone (Jefferson the President: First Term, 1801-1805, p. 109), Granger wanted nothing in the letter changed. Lincoln, on the other hand, thought it would be prudent to eliminate the part of the letter in which Jefferson emphasized his opposition to proclaiming days of fasting and thanksgiving, on the grounds that this might cost him political support in the eastern states, which had long-established traditions of government proclamations of thanksgiving. Accordingly, Jefferson omitted this portion of the letter.

For the full text of Jefferson's letter to Lincoln, click here. For the full text of Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists, click here.


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