Thomas Jefferson on Religion, a letter to George Logan on 12 November 1816

I hope we shall take warning from the example and crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. When we see religion into so many thousands of sects, and I may say Christianity itself divided into its thousands also, who are disputing, anathematizing and where the laws permit, burning and torturing one another for abstractions which none of them understand, and which are indeed beyond the comprehension of the human mind, into which of the chambers of this bedlam would a man wish to thrust himself. The sum of all religion as expressed by it's best preacher,"fear god and love thy neighbor" contains no mystery, needs no explanation. But this won't do. It gives no scope to make dupe: priests could not live by it. Your idea of the moral obligations of governments are perfectly correct. The man who is dishonest as a statesman would be a dishonest man in any station. It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million of human beings collected together are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately. It is a great consolation to me that our government, as it cherishes most it's duties to its own citizens, so is it the most exact in it's moral conduct towards other nations.
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