It's interesting to see that the sane have been forced to cater to the insane since the founding of the nation. Being from Rhode Island... I'm especially proud of our early history of religious tolerance as practiced by Roger Williams and others who escaped the nazi-like puritans/pilgrims in Massachusetts.

We now have a problem with Catholics (who comprise 60% or so of the population) who have no concept of either religious freedom nor of American ideals..... fortunately though.... our Catholics are some of the most uppity priest-haters you'd ever want to meet... most of them sneer in the general direction of the church hierarchy though they do tend to hold some downright ridiculous notions of what constitutes religion....

The local catholic diocese is more like some gray bureaucracy unthinkingly going through empty rituals... it's more like the registry of motor vehicles than anything else.

A close friend of mine wanted me to give her a ride to the church in her new neighborhood... she wanted to go in to see the parish priest but was afraid because she didn't have her "papers" with her..... I actually had to practically chase her in but you would have thought she was smuggling pot through customs to watch the trepidation in her approach to the place.

Catholics truly are lost in a free society... they just don't have the knack for it. I mean get a load of Mussolini/Giuliani in NY city..... the damned idiot is third generation american but still hasn't figured out how a free country works.

As I understand it, sociologists have determined that any immigrant family anyplace cannot adapt-to/internalize a new culture in less than three generations and that it sometimes takes longer.


FBI IDs Deleted Line in Famous Note

By CARL HARTMAN .c The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - New detective work by the FBI suggests that a famous pledge by President Jefferson to separate church and state was made largely for political reasons, according to the organizer of an exhibit on religion in America at the Library of Congress.

James H. Hutson, who is in charge of the library's manuscripts, says Jefferson was trying to explain to Baptists in Danbury, Conn., his unwillingness to issue Thanksgiving proclamations.

The FBI laboratory found that Jefferson had first written that he was ``confining myself to the duties of my station, which are merely temporal'' but had later crossed that out. His political advisers convinced him, according to Hutson, that the sentence would offend New England church people.

``Director Louis Freeh ... generously permitted the FBI's laboratory to apply its state-of-the-art technology to the task of restoring Jefferson's obliterated words,'' Hutson wrote. ``The FBI was successful, with the result that the entire draft of the Danbury Baptist letter is now legible.''

The text of the draft was made public Monday. The letter and the FBI's work on Jefferson's deletions are among items in an exhibit that opens Thursday called ``Religion and the Founding of the American Republic.''

The letter urges a wall of separation between church and state. Jefferson originally called for an ``eternal'' wall, but - as had already been known - he deleted that word too.

``It will be of considerable interest in assessing the credibility of the Danbury Baptist letter as a tool of constitutional interpretation to know, as we now do,'' Hutson wrote, ``that it was written as a partisan counterpunch, aimed by Jefferson below the belt of enemies who were tormenting him more than a decade after the First Amendment was composed.''

Jefferson wrote in 1802, after winning the presidency against opponents who attacked him as an atheist.

Rob Boston, a spokesman of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, objected that Hutson was trying to play down the importance of the letter as a statement of policy.

``Hutson has drifted into dangerous territory,'' Boston said in an interview. ``The thrust of what he says seems to play into the hands of the religious right.''

The exhibit traces the role of religion from persecutions in Europe that continued in some of the colonies, to religious services in the chamber of the House of Representatives until after the Civil War.

Of the 13 original colonies, nine had official churches. Hutson told reporters that soldiers of different faiths fighting side by side during the American Revolution were important in bringing religious tolerance.

AP-NY-06-01-98 1925EDT


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