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

Only 5 more days until ReAsonCon 2015. Get your tickets today! Visit the link be...

17 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Seculars have been quiet and invisible as a demographic for too long, but Openly...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Don't miss the upcoming annual BSIC panel discussion entitled “Imagining the Fut...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

We’re featuring new comics this week by Polyp Cartoonist! For more great comics...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

What would Molly Ringwald say about privacy? Should a student attending a privat...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Luis Granados explains why Ayaan Hirsi is wrong about Islamic reform in his revi...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA legal director David Niose, author of Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming Am...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

This week, AHA staff member Jessica Xiao interviewed Lynn Rothschild, senior sci...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today is Ask an Atheist Day! Have a question about atheism, humanism, or non-bel...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Could we see an open Humanist in Congress in 2016? It seems Maryland Senator Jam...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

This week on The Humanist Hour #146: A Conversation with Lisa Montoya, Seminary...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Mother's Day is right around the corner! If you are shopping for that special la...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

The world's most and least religious countries.

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Shortly after we ensure that teachers won't pass out Bibles to their students at...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Robert Ray, President of Humanists of North Puget Sound, delivered a humanist in...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Don't miss Kelly Carlin, daughter of atheist comedian George Carlin, at AHA's 74...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

What should the humanist response to terrorism be? Clay Farris Naff has some pro...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Are you a high school or college student interested in joining us at our 74th an...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

"Let us give a toast to Christopher Hitchens on what would have been his 66th bi...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

After a letter from our Appignani Humanist Legal Center, a public school distric...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

It's time for another episode of the Cartoon History of Humanism!

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

Thank Godfolk It’s Friday! Religious Funnies from around the World!

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Secular Coalition for America will hold its annual Lobby Day & Secular Summi...

11 days ago

American Humanist Association

According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, 52 percent of Americans support allowi...

11 days ago

American Humanist Association

School nurse refuses care for kid who opted out of Pledge. AHA to the rescue!

11 days ago

American Humanist Association

What will the world's religious landscape look like in 2050?

11 days ago