Taking the High Way
EXIT OF THE DAY
Hear this right …. here!
EXIT 15 I-95n to: US 7, Norwalk and Danbury, CT
New York Times Best Selling Author and Emmy Award-winning Historian, Rick Shenkman, is on the Board of Advisors of RoadSpoke.
Mister Shenkman can be seen regularly on Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. A historical pundit and author of 7 books including Political Animals, as well as Legends, Lies and Cherished Myths of American History, Mister Shenkman recently retired as publisher of George Washington University's History News Network. The HNN website attracts 1.55 Million Page Views and 300,000 Unique Visitors per month. The majority of HNN’s audience is composed of students, college professors, and media writers.
No doubt Mr Shenkman will appreciate this bit of trivia which is relevant to Norwalk Connecticut’s next Exit.
In October 1801, Mister Nehemiah Dodge, a Norwalk resident wrote a letter to President Thomas Jefferson expressing concern that — as a Baptist — he and his congregation in Danbury may not be able to express full religious liberty in Connecticut whose constitution was adopted before the establishment of the Baptist church.
At that time in America, Baptists were a fringe religious group. The majority of Americans were one of three religions. Like the second president, John Adams, they were either Congregationalists, , who were the spiritual descendants of Pilgrims...
Or they were Deists who believed in Christian morals but rejected that Christ was the only Son of God. Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin were members of this faith.
Most Americans were Episcopalians. Episcopalians were former Church of England members. But since the Church of England requires its followers to believe the king or queen of England was their spiritual leader, and the United States had just fought England for its freedom, all those Anglicans in the United States could not rightly worship a British tyrant as their leader.
After the Revolution, those former Anglicans had formed a new religious sect which had no single leader. Their leaders were an Episcopate of bishops. Episcopate of Bishops is a fancy way of saying “a group of bishops.” That protestant sect was now called Episcopalians.
Episcopalians today are a small minority in America and Baptists are a far larger group. Today of America’s roughly 360,000,000 citizens, just a little over 1% or 3 million citizens identify as Episcopalians. That’s one in a hundred.
Conversely, Baptists have 50 million members in America. One in seven Americans identifies as a Baptist.
But back then, Episcopalians were the vast majority. Many so-called Founding Fathers, like George Washington, were Episcopalians.
Given the Founding Fathers’ recent rebellion against dictators of religion and law, it is not surprising that the First Amendment in the United States Constitution states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
In 1801, President Jefferson replied to that Baptist’s letter with his own epistle. It is famously known as the “Danbury Letter”. President Jefferson wrote that there was "a wall of separation between church and State" that protected a person's right to worship whatever he wanted wherever he wanted.
This well-known phrase, “a wall between church and state” occurs in Jefferson's letter and not in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as is commonly believed.
#FirstAmendment #Constitution #Religion #Episcopal #Baptist #Congregationalist #Deist #DanburyLetter #Dodge
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