Portrait of Thomas Jefferson courtesy of the White House
This week’s presidential quote comes directly from the pen of President Thomas Jefferson when he wrote to a group of Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut. Concerned about possible establishment of a church that they would be required to attend, their fears for their religious freedom were calmed when President Jefferson wrote to ensure them that their free practice of religion would never be interfered with by the government, for that would go against the will of the people and the Constitution. Jefferson closed his letter by thanking them for their prayers on his behalf.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church and State