This letter is in response to Mr. Justin Eslinger’s letter concerning God in our schools.
You said you are a student in American history, and you know for a fact that the people of the United States did not welcome God into the schools. You quote Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Horatio Spafford, saying the priest has been hostile to liberty and that he is always in alliance with the despot.
As a student of American history, you must realize Thomas Jefferson, while president (1801-1809), chaired the school board for the District of Columbia, where he authored the first plan of education adopted by Washington. This plan included the Bible for teaching reading to students.
In a letter written in 1801 to Moses Robinson, Jefferson wrote: “The Christian religion, when divested of the rags in which they (the clergy) have enveloped it, and brought to the original purity and simplicity of its benevolent institutor, is a religion of all others most friendly to liberty, science, and the freest expansion of the human mind.”
Throughout his presidency, he permitted church services in executive branch buildings because they were nondiscriminatory and voluntary. Apparently, Jefferson’s concern for “separation” regarded the opposition to an official state-sponsored church rather than excluding religion from government.
In closing, I quote the words of Ronald Reagan: “Without God there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience. . . without God there is a coarsening of the society; without God Democracy will not and can not long endure. . .If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
Kenneth Sutton, Woodbine