The Quantum Pontiff

Religion iff Freedom

Compare and contrast and compare and constrast.

John F. Kennedy, September 12, 1960:

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute–where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote–where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference–and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

Mitt Romney, December 6, 2007:

Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.

Thomas Jefferson, in a letter, 1802:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.

Bonus points if you can connect the later quote to the context of the second quote in one historic moment.


  1. #1 RobertC
    December 6, 2007

    I like this one more

    In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is easier to acquire wealth and power by this combination than by deserving them, and to effect this, they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purposes.
    — Thomas Jefferson, to Horatio G Spafford, March 17, 1814

  2. #2 Joe
    December 7, 2007

    The year on the Mitt Romney quote is incorrect.

  3. #3 Dave Bacon
    December 7, 2007

    Doh. I really need to stop time traveling.


  4. #4 glista
    December 10, 2007

    zounds! I saw your name linked from the “science debate” page and thought, “It can’t be THAT Dave Bacon.” But it is! Glad to see a techer on the leading edge of demanding a little scientific literacy from our political leadership.

  5. #5 Kaleberg
    December 11, 2007

    From the Broadway version of Life With Father:

    “Vinnie, if there’s one place the church should leave alone, it’s a man’s soul!”

    To that, I say amen.

  6. #6 Georg
    December 12, 2007

    Bonjour Dave and Robert,

    Thomas Jefferson certainly was and is a credit to your country. He was and is totally right.

    Cheers to both of you

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