Unconfirmed Quote attributed to Thomas Jefferson

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Part 6 David Barton:Were the Founding Fathers Deists?
In 1988 only 25% of Christians voted but that doubled in 1994. Christians are the salt of the world.

The last few days I have been  looking at this issue of unconfirmed quotes that people think that the Founding Fathers actually said and the historical evidence concerning them. David Barton has collected these quotes and tried to confirm them over the last 20 years.

Here is one attributed to Thomas Jefferson.

12. I have always said and always will say that the studious perusal of the Sacred Volume will make us better citizens. –Thomas Jefferson (unconfirmed)

This quote can be found attributed to Thomas Jefferson in an 1869 work by Samuel W. Bailey, but as yet we have not found it in a primary source. Jefferson’s religious thoughts are well-documented. As he fought the battles of dogmatic, sectarian divisiveness, one can find religious quotations both positive and negative. Therefore, this positive reference to the Bible could easily have flowed from his pen. For example, notice these excerpts from his letters. They reveal both his dislike of sectarianism, as well as his love for what he considered the pure doctrines of Jesus:

An eloquent preacher of your religious society, Richard Motte, in a discourse of much emotion and pathos, is said to have exclaimed aloud to his congregation, that he did not believe there was a Quaker, Presbyterian, Methodist or Baptist in heaven, having paused to give his hearers time to stare and to wonder. He added, that in heaven, God knew no distinctions, but considered all good men as his children, and as brethren of the same family. I believe, with the Quaker preacher, that he who steadily observes those moral precepts in which all religions concur, will never be questioned at the gates of heaven, as to the dogmas in which they all differ. That on entering there, all these are left behind us, and the Aristides and Catos, the Penns and Tillotsons, Presbyterians and Baptists, will find themselves united in all principles which are in concert with the reason of the supreme mind. Of all the systems of morality, ancient and modern, which have come under my observation, none appear to me so pure as that of Jesus.

To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian, in the only sense in which he wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others.

But the greatest of all the reformers of the depraved religion of His own country, was Jesus of Nazareth.

In fact, Jefferson thought Christianity so important that he personally authored a work for the Indians entitled The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth which set forth the teachings of Jesus as delivered in the Gospels. (The Fifty-seventh Congress ordered a reprint of his work. ) Many people have claimed that Jefferson omitted all miraculous events of Jesus from his so called “Bible.” Rarely do those who make this claim let Jefferson speak for himself. Jefferson’s own words explain that his intent for that book was not for it to be a “Bible,” but rather for it to be a primer for the Indians on the teachings of Christ (which is why Jefferson titled that work, “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth“). What Jefferson did was to take the “red letter” portions of the New Testament and publish these teachings in order to introduce the Indians to Christian morality. To deny this is to deny that he swore “upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

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This is a profile from the Morning News from 2009 of State lawmaker Mary Slinkard.

Mary Slinkard

Wed, Jan 7, 2009

LegislatorsRepresentative

mary-slinkardR-Gravette
House District 100
Freshman
Committees: Judiciary; State Agencies.
Special connections: Benton County clerk until her swearing in at the House.
How to reach her: House in-session number: 501-682-6211. On weekends: 479-616-2010.
What you should know: Asked for and traded her slot on another committee to get to State Agencies, which oversees election law.
Her priority: “First will be to learn. After that, I’d like to see a firm deadline for persons to get their names on the ballot, preferably earlier so we can get ballots printed. I want to clarify election law. I just want things to work.”
Her biggest fear: “Being a newbie.”

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