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Jefferson and his religious doubts

Thank you, Blanche Brick, for reminding us of the contributions Thomas Jefferson made to the founding of our country and to its democratic form of government (Eagle, Jan. 14). He deserves a prominent place in our history books, not as the whitewashed figure some would prefer but as a real person with both virtues and faults. The Jefferson quotes referring to God which Brick includes in her op-ed piece probably are accurate, but they might mislead some into thinking that Jefferson was a Christian. In fact, he rejected the main tenets of Christianity including the virgin birth, the resurrection, the divinity of Jesus and the Trinity. He also rejected the authority of the priesthood, insisting that people should use reason and logic to form their own conclusions on religious matters. Jefferson’s religious views were complex. He believed a “First Cause” was necessary to create the Universe but doubted that supernatural forces were affecting it now. He strongly endorsed the moral and ethical teachings of Jesus. However, he meticulously cut up the Gospels, removing all references to miracles and the supernatural. Today, some evangelical preachers and media personalities are using quotes from Jefferson and other Founding Fathers to support a “Christian Nation” agenda and to attack the “wall of separation” between church and state. Such activity is a danger to our democracy, as the riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and the popularity of lies about election security demonstrate.

BOBBY PRESLEY College Station

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