Atheists and Humanists Lying About Thomas Jefferson and Jesus

Bogus Billboard taken down: Orange County, CA

Lies, falsehoods, untruths are the foundation of the secular humanist doctrines which are foisted upon America.  Two of the most harmful — and widely accepted — concern abortion, and separation of church and state.  This article focuses upon one typical instance of the lie about Christianity and the United States.  It reveals a typical operation of the humanist lie factory, and urges the best method to counter it.

A local California group called the Backyard Skeptics audaciously threw their lie right into the faces of their neighbors.  They put up a billboard with a picture of Thomas Jefferson, and this supposed quote from the founding father: “I do not find in Christianity one redeeming feature. It is founded on fables and mythology.”  Leading humanists enthusiastically praised the lie.  Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, said of the billboard, “It’s uplifting to see Americans discussing the views of Jefferson and examining his influence on the secular nature of our constitution”

“Wait a minute,” thought I, “that’s not the Jefferson I know.”  I have read over 1,500 dense pages of Jefferson’s own writings, in the Library of America’s “Jefferson: Writings.”  I remembered nothing like that.  On the one hand, Jefferson was not a member of any of the Christian denominations. And he didn’t like the professions of priests and pastors.  But on the other hand, Jefferson strongly praised a pure Christianity, and called himself a Christian!  He was nothing like an atheist.

I learned of the lying billboard from a reprint of an October 28 article out of Washington, D.C.  The article featured a couple of even more astounding lies, made up by secular humanists, and falsely attributed to Jefferson.  The article said the quotations were found on a website called “Monticello”.  But to anyone acquainted with Jefferson, these “quotations” are incredible:

“Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned: yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.”

“…those who live by mystery & charlatanerie, fearing you would render them useless by simplifying the Christian philosophy, the most sublime & benevolent, but most perverted system that ever shone on man, endeavored to crush your well earnt, & well deserved fame.”

Even for those unfamiliar with Jefferson, there is a big clue that these statements are bogus: they do not cite their sources.  Every writing of Jefferson can be checked by anyone if the source is identified.

So I went to the “Monticello” website.  Knock me over with a feather!  Sure enough the statements were there.  THEY WERE LISTED AS SPURIOUS QUOTES – just made up out of whole cloth!  They first appeared in print in 1906, eighty years after Jefferson had died.  The Monticello website said, “We have not found this quotation in any of Jefferson’s known writings.”  

This is worth our attention.  The liars are so bold that they will quote a source even when that source is saying that the statement is phoney.  They will quote it as though it were true.  They count on you not knowing the truth.  They NEED us not to know the truth!

Before discussing the real Jefferson, it’s worthwhile to confirm our own position, to “get centered” in Christ.  John’s gospel records, “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” (John 8:31, 32) The Greek word rendered as “truth” could equally be translated as “reality.”  When Jesus says he is “the truth”, we know that he is indeed reality.  We, as Christians have a moral and spiritual obligation to know and to live in the truth.  The language of the adversary is lies.  The adversaries of God are always trying to persuade us to live in their lies.  But it is our obligation and privilege to seek out truth.  This is not merely a political matter.  It is integral to our identity as Christians.

When I assert that the humanists are simply lying about Jefferson, it becomes my duty to use as evidence Jefferson’s own words, and to tell you where you can find those words – so you can verify them for yourself.  The closing statement in the humanist’s article of October 28 claims that humanists have the “responsibility to lead ethical lives”.  How revealing it is to discover that their concept of “ethical” means that they will lie and lie and lie to you – all for your own good.  But now to Jefferson

We might start with Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence – the very foundation of our nation.  I have provided the capital letters for emphasis.  Jefferson’ original “inherent and” was dropped by Congress and replaced by “certain.”

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate & equal station TO WHICH THE LAWS OF NATURE AND OF NATURE’S GOD entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

 We hold these truths to be self-evident, THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL THAT THEY ARE ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH inherent and [Jefferson’s draft, changed to certain] INALIENABLE RIGHTS; that among these are life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness:”  

The humanists assert that there is no God.  Unbelievably, they invoke Thomas Jefferson, pretending that he is their authority for banishing God from the USA.  If they succeed in spreading this vicious doctrine, they will strip away all our rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  Thomas Jefferson and the Congress stated unequivocally that the rights are given us by our “Creator.”  No Creator, no rights!  It’s that simple.  Clearly  the issue is not religious, but political!  Erosion of the nation’s belief in God leads to erosion of all our rights – both of which are going on right now.

The Declaration is godly, but not specifically Christian.  So we turn now to Jefferson’s own view of Jesus and of Christianity. Jefferson absolutely opposed the establishment of an official national church.  What that means exactly is that he opposed making the Church of England, the Presbyterian, the Roman Catholic, the Lutheran, or any other denomination of Christianity — or for that matter any other religion, such as Islam — an official national church.  He demanded that the new nation allow everyone to worship God as their conscience directed, and that no one should have to provide financial support for any particular religion.  He demanded that there be no religious test for anyone to hold public office.

Of course, maintaining that we should worship God as our understanding and conscience direct, is the diametric opposite of proposing that anyone should not believe in God.  

My Catholic Lane article of August 20, 2011 dealt with Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists, in which he assured them there would be no official national religion (which postmodernists grossly distort, to give them an excuse to banish religion from the public eye.)

Does this sound anti-Christian to you?  Jefferson wrote to Joseph Priestly about Jesus: “[H]is system of morality was the most benevolent & sublime probably that has ever been taught and consequently more perfect than those of any of the antient [sic] philosophers.” April 9, 1803 – easily verified!

To his friend and fellow signer of the Declaration, Dr. Benjamin Rush , Jefferson wrote: “Dear Sir,–In some of the delightful conversations with you, in the evenings of 1798-99, and which served as an anodyne to the afflictions of the crisis through which our country was then laboring, the Christian religion was sometimes our topic; and I then promised you, that one day or other, I would give you my views of it.  They are the result of a life of inquiry & reflection, and very different from that anti-Christian system imputed to me by those who know nothing of my opinions.  To the corruptions of Christianity I am indeed opposed; but not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself.  I am a Christian, in the only sense he wished anyone to be; sincerely attached to his doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every human excellence; & believing he never claimed any other.”  April 21, 1803 – look it up, confirm it! Jefferson, Writings, Library of America  p. 1122 

Jefferson proclaimed himself: “I am a Christian”!  Unlike almost all of us, he was not a Trinitarian, but a Unitarian. True that may put him outside what we consider to be orthodox Christian doctrine.  But there’s no way we Trinitarians should blend our voices with our humanist enemies who want to trumpet that he was not Christian. Jefferson’s own testimony, as well as the record of his life, proclaims, “I am a Christian.”

Please remember this if you can – and the source.  When you quote from his letter to Dr. Rush, you will expose either the ignorance or the falsehood of the revisionists, who on non-existent authority deny Jefferson’s Christianity.

 On June 26, 1822, four years before Jefferson died, he wrote to Benjamin Waterhouse, the first doctor to test the smallpox vaccine in America.  He suggested to Waterhouse a syllabus for the further study of Jesus and Jesus’ doctrines.

“The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend to the happiness of man.

      1. That there is only one God, and he all perfect.
      2. That there is a future state of rewards and punishment.
      3.  That to love God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself, is the sum of religion.

These are the great points onwhich he endeavored to reform the religion of the Jews.  But compare these with the demoralizing dogmas of Calvin.”

“Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always as pure as they came from his lips, the whole civilized world would now have been Christian.” ibid. pp 1458f

 Wow!  The whole civilized world!  This is the exact opposite of the humanist fraudulent “make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth”  

 Jefferson has spoken for himself.  Any person today who pretends to have any authority whatsoever regarding Jefferson, and who falsely represents Jefferson as no Christian, or as opposed to Christianity, or as the enemy of religion – that person is a liar, a liar probably motivated by a desire to banish love of God from America.  Any ignorant person who merely parrots the lies, deserves the opportunity to be taught the truth.  

There are numerous other written indicators of Jefferson’s view of Jesus and of Christianity.  If the subject interests you, study Jefferson’s letter to his predecessor as President – John Adams, Oct 12, 1813 where he discusses what he regards as the code of Jesus.

The offending billboard was recently removed, but not before it had a chance to influence the persons who saw it.  Merely having the billboard removed is hardly a victory.  Like the Hydra of Greek mythology, with her deadly poisonous breath, which, when you cut off one of her many heads grew two more, when one humanist effort is cut off, it seems that two more take its place.  Nevertheless, Hercules, as the second of his twelve labors, did destroy the Hydra.  When he would cut off a head, he immediately cauterized the stump with a burning torch.

We need to cut off the heads of every humanist lie we know of.  We do this by learning and telling the truth.  We cauterize the stump by sharing the truth with anyone who will listen to us or read what we write.  Moreover, once we have exposed several of the humanist lies, we need to let everyone know that lies and misrepresentations are normal tools of American atheistic humanism.  Finally, we need to be bold!  Just as Hercules overcame Hydra, Jesus will overcome all lies.  The lies are shifting, sinking sand.  The house built upon them cannot endure.  Jesus is reality, the Rock on which we build our house.

Theodore Kobernick is a retired Protestant pastor whose wide education includes degrees in English, training in aviation electronics, engineering, real estate, pastoral studies, and Americal history. He has taught English at the University of Washington (Seattle), and various courses in writing at St. Martin's University (near Olympia, WA).  Phi Beta Kappa from Lake Forest College, IL. He and Paula have been married for 35 years; they live in Vancouver, WA.

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