AHA News |  

Jefferson Billboard Opens Forum for Debate


Contact: Brian Magee, 202-238-9088
bmagee@americanhumanist.org

(Washington, DC, October 28, 2011) — Humanist leaders expressed enthusiasm about a recently removed California billboard that is focusing national attention on Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Father who advocated for a wall of separation between church and state. "It's uplifting to see Americans discussing the views of Jefferson and examining his influence on the secular nature of our constitution,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association.

The catalyst for this new interest in Jefferson comes from a billboard paid for by a local California group called the Backyard Skeptics. The billboard used a statement widely attributed to Jefferson: “I do not find in Christianity one redeeming feature. It is founded on fables and mythology.” The sentiment on the billboard is not out of character for Jefferson, despite its misattribution. Quotes (from the Monticello website) show Jefferson did indeed find serious fault with religion:

“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."

"Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear."

 The billboard and subsequent discussion is highlighting how "Jefferson, along with other Founding Fathers, had no intention of founding a specifically Christian nation," continued Speckhardt. "Backyard Skeptics leader Bruce Gleason appropriately accepted responsibility for the billboard and spurred a great opportunity to validate Jefferson's critique of religion and reverence for reason." 

###

The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.

American Humanist Association

Suspended for a week for defending evolution? That is a bit of an over-reaction...

2 hours ago

American Humanist Association

What if you could win $1,000 for telling the world what is important to you? Al...

3 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason, the new b...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Things that make you go hmmm....

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

Here is a cool new Kickstarter campaign to create a children's book for non-bel...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA board member Howard Katz is at Skepticon representing! Make sure to stop by...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

December 2nd is Giving Tuesday. This holiday season, while you are buying gifts...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Hey, It's our favorite science guy! Clay Farris Naff talks with past AHA humanis...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Who is ready for Skepticon 2014?! If you are attending the event, make sure to s...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today is National Transgender Day of Remembrance. Today we remember transgenders...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Many people don't believe that a person can be good without a god. What are thos...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Yesterday, AHA's David Niose presented his argument that the phrase "under God"...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

A Congressional hearing on religious accommodations in the armed services is hap...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today a judge will hear the arguments of Dave Niose, representing the AHA, in a...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Last week Indra Zuno delivered her secular invocation at the LA County Board mee...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

The United Coalition of Reason is crushing the billboard game with billboards up...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

The debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham was so entertaining and informative, who...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Following on from last week's spectacular launch of 2 CoRs in the beautiful stat...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Will Kirk Cameron save Christmas and Christianity from the evil, putrid creature...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

The secular community seems torn in their opinion of Dan Brown. Although you may...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

What would give Margaret Atwood faith to keep going during a zombie apocalypse?...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

If you have seen Interstellar you will know what Neil is talking about.

7 days ago