The fourth President of the United States, James Madison, was much like the other Virginia presidents-Washington and Jefferson-who went before him. Like them, he loved his home state only a little less than his country. Like them, he was a rich man who gave his whole life to public service. He was an able student of politics and government who brought real knowledge and skills to his job. In public office Madison was a calm, reasoning statesman who governed by force of logic. In a time when emotions ran high, he made common sense prevail. He was not always successful in dealing with foreign nations, but history has shown he had right and justice on his side.He entered the presidency at a time when war clouds hung over the young nation. He saw his country through the disastrous War of 1812, and his final months in office produced the “era of good feeling” that lasted for many years. He did well as Secretary of State and as President, but his greatest record was made earlier. For his outstanding work on the nation’s charter, Madison is known as the Father of the Constitution. Excerpted from Compton’s Interactive Encyclopedia Deluxe. Copyright 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997. The Learning Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Words of James Madison Against Christianity:
“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.”-Letter to Wm. Bradford, April 1, 1774
“The civil government functions with complete success by the total separation of the Church from the State.”-Founding Father James Madison, 1819, Writings, 8:432, quoted from Gene Garman,
“And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”-letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822.
“Every new and successful example of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters is of importance.”— letter, 1822.
“It may not be easy, in every possible case, to trace the line of separation between the rights of religion and the Civil authority with such distinctness as to avoid collisions and doubts on unessential points. The tendency to unsurpastion on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded agst. by an entire abstinence of the Gov’t from interfence in any way whatsoever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect agst. trespasses on its legal rights by others.”-“James Madison on Religious Liberty”, edited by Robert S. Alley, ISBN 0-8975-298-X. pp. 237-238.
“What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.”— “A Memorial and Remonstrance”, 1785.
“Experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.”-“A Memorial and Remonstrance”, 1785.
“Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.”-Monopolies, Perpetuities, Corporations, Ecclesiastical Endowments.
“Ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects.”
“The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries.”— 1803 letter objecting use of gov. land for churches.
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