"If you could turn stupid into a fuel, you could use Sarah Palin to leave the Solar System.”
Her appearance at Liberty University set a new standard for idiocy in a public figure. Before I quote her, I want to remind you that Thomas Jefferson was so dissatisfied with the New Testament that he cut out all the references to miracles and the resurrection, creating a new book we call The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth.
He explained his rationale this way:
“Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him [Jesus] by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being.”
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Short, April 13, 1820
He was actually hostile to several forms of Christianity. Of Catholicism, he said, “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government,” and “In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.” In a letter to John Adams, dated April 11, 1823, Jefferson wrote “I can never join [John] Calvin in addressing his god. He was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was Daemonism. If ever man worshipped a false god, he did.”
Finally, as a prelude to introducing you to Palin’s comments, I want to introduce you to Jefferson’s thoughts on Christmas. Christmas, after all, is a celebration of the miraculous birth of Jesus. Here is what Jefferson thought about that subject:
“And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors.”
-Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823
So we are clear here, Thomas Jefferson revered many of the sayings attributed to Jesus. But he actively hoped that people would stop believing in the story that we all celebrate on Christmas.
With all of that as precursor, I give you Palin at Liberty University:
She told the audience of students that the U.S. Constitution was written by and for moral and religious people, and that nonreligious people probably were incapable of appreciating its principles.
“If you lose that foundation, John Adams was implicitly warning us, then we will not follow our Constitution, there will be no reason to follow our Constitution because it is a moral and religious people who understand that there is something greater than self, we are to live selflessly, and we are to be held accountable by our creator, so that is what our Constitution is based on, so those revisionists, those in the lamestream media, especially, who would want to ignore what our founders actually thought, felt and wrote about in our charters of liberty - well, that’s why I call them the lamestream media,” Palin said…
“Thomas Jefferson and his thinking, I believe that much of it fundamentally came from this area, having spent his summers here, having spent influential years here, two miles away from Liberty University,” Palin said. “Man, there’s something in the water, perhaps, around here - again you are fortunate you get to taste it.”
Palin said Jefferson would likely agree that secularists had set their sights on destroying the religious themes in Christmas celebrations.
“He would recognize those who would want to try to ignore that Jesus is the reason for the season, those who would want to try to abort Christ from Christmas,” she said. “He would recognize that, for the most part, these are angry atheists armed with an attorney. They are not the majority of Americans.”
Palin said there was a double standard that protected atheists at the expense of the religious.
“Why is it they get to claim some offense taken when they see a plastic Jewish family on somebody’s lawn - a nativity scene, that’s basically what it is right?” she said. “Oh, they take such offense, though. They say that it physically even can hurt them and mentally it distresses them so they sue, right?”
“But heaven forbid we claim any type of offense when we say, ‘Wait, you’re stripping Jesus from the reason, as the reason for the season,’ but heaven forbid we claim any type of offense,” Palin said. “So that double standard, I think Thomas Jefferson would certainly recognize it and stand up and he wouldn’t let anybody tell him to sit down and shut up.”
Here are a couple of other things that Thomas Jefferson had to say about religion.
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and 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.”
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT., Jan. 1, 1802
“Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.”
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814
Also, Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, served as a delegate at the 2nd Continental Congress, was governor of Virginia, a minister to France, our first Secretary of State, our second vice-president, and our third president. He even codified the rules of the Senate. But he didn’t write the Constitution.
Source: Martin Longman, Washington Monthly
Very, very related: Carl Sagan’s Last Interview With Charlie Rose
“Nevertheless, (Jefferson) believed that the habit of skepticism is an essential prerequisite for responsible citizenship. He argued that the cost of education is trivial compared to the cost of ignorance, of leaving government to the wolves. He taught that the country is safe only when the people rule.”
- Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science As A Candle In The Dark