I have read about President Bush's 4th of July speech at Monticello in three blogs so far. Protesters were given a selected demonstration area, the audience was practically hand-picked, and, as usual, the Main Stream Media didn't bother to report about the folks protesting the most unpopular president -- ever. Yep, there's no better backdrop for the annual American celebration than the home of the author of the Declaration of Independence.
In our kindly despot's speech, Bush lifted a quote from one of Thomas Jefferson's letters:
"On the 50th anniversary of America’s independence, Thomas Jefferson passed away. But before leaving this world, he explained that the principles of the Declaration of Independence were universal. In one of the final letters of his life, he wrote, ‘May it be to the world, what I believe it will be — to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all — the Signal of arousing men to burst the chains, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government.’”
Okay, nice words, great sentiment. I like the original uncensored literal quote from Thomas Jefferson:
“May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government.”
I guess that it wouldn't have been prudent to use Jefferson's quote in its entirety and in context. It is obvious to me that Jefferson was telling us that we have to reject any teachings of the Church and any long standing practices (from living under kings and tyrants) that are barriers to liberty, freedom, and democracy. Yes, there is no way that our King George would openly endorse these words from another President.
We don't live in a theocracy. We don't have a State Church. We are not a Christian nation. In fact, Thomas Jefferson approved the language of a treaty with Muslims in Tripoli and it stated very clearly:
As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion,-as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen,-and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
THE TREATY OF TRIPOLI was ratified by a 100% yes vote in the United States Senate. You won't find any of the Christianists referring to actual quotes from Thomas Jefferson to support their bullshit about a Christian nation. The Founding Fathers knew best.