Showing posts with label Thomas Jefferson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thomas Jefferson. Show all posts

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Jefferson on Guns

I think Thomas Jefferson was most illuminating when he wrote...

Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. 

 ...I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. 

 ...But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors. 

And lastly, let us provide in our constitution for its revision at stated periods. What these periods should be, nature herself indicates.

 (Letter to Samuel Kercheval, Quotations on the Jefferson Memorial)

We are clearly at the point of revision right now when it comes to the 2nd Amendment.

We have 30K deaths a year due to gun violence. There is a mass shooting every single day in this country. Far too many people have guns that shouldn't have them.

So, it's time to reform the 2nd Amendment by focusing first on the "well regulated" part of the right. As in Israel, people should have to demonstrate a valid and rational reason as to why they want to own a gun. There should be universal background checks on EVERY SINGLE gun purchase. The law should require high amounts of liability insurance on every gun purchase. Parents of children who end up accidentally shooting themselves should have as stringent of punishments as we have with zero tolerance drug laws. Anyone with a criminal record or mental health problems should be denied gun ownership.

 As Jefferson noted, we are living under a regimen of our barbarous ancestors. It's time to move on...

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

President's Day Good Words #3

"Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law." 

(Thomas Jefferson, Vol. 1 Whether Christianity is Part of the Common Law (1764). Published in The Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes, Federal Edition, Paul Leicester Ford, ed., New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1904, p. 459.)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Thomas Jefferson's Bible

Conservatives love to heap adulation on the founding fathers and bloviate about how they were all Christians founding a Christian least their version of Christianity. Certainly, Thomas Jefferson, our nation's 3rd president, is one of those heroes who is held up as a champion of the Right and a defender of more local government power.

I have to wonder, though, what those same conservatives think about the fact that Jefferson created his own version of the New Testament.

Thomas Jefferson, together with several of his fellow founding fathers, was influenced by the principles of deism, a construct that envisioned a supreme being as a sort of watchmaker who had created the world but no longer intervened directly in daily life. A product of the Age of Enlightenment, Jefferson was keenly interested in science and the perplexing theological questions it raised. Although the author of the Declaration of Independence was one of the great champions of religious freedom, his belief system was sufficiently out of the mainstream that opponents in the 1800 presidential election labeled him a “howling Atheist.” 

In fact, Jefferson was devoted to the teachings of Jesus Christ. But he didn’t always agree with how they were interpreted by biblical sources, including the writers of the four Gospels, whom he considered to be untrustworthy correspondents. So Jefferson created his own gospel by taking a sharp instrument, perhaps a penknife, to existing copies of the New Testament and pasting up his own account of Christ’s philosophy, distinguishing it from what he called “the corruption of schismatizing followers.” 

In some ways, Jefferson had a point but I wouldn't go as far to cut and past my own version of the Bible nor accuse Christ's followers as corrupt. They were simply trying to understand something that was way beyond them which we can understand in greater clarity today. That's why I'm hoping that in a decade or two, we can leave behind the anti-science of the Right and start a new Age of Enlightenment in which we truly do "His works and greater than these." We can't allow angry, hateful, insecure, irrational people filled with fear to bully their way into being the "official" spokesmodels for God. He is much bigger than their petty obsessions with gay sex and lady parts which, honestly, is an extension of their own sexual hangups.

I wonder what would happen if Barack Obama did what Jefferson did with the Bible...:)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Good Words

“Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814,

Good Words

"We have solved by fair experiment, the great and interesting question whether freedom of religion is compatible with order in government, and obedience to the laws. And we have experienced the quiet as well as the comfort which results from leaving everyone to profess freely and openly those principles of religion which are the inductions of his own reason, and the serious convictions of his own inquiries." ~Thomas Jefferson: in a speech to the Virginia Baptists, 1808

Monday, September 23, 2013

Good Words

“History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.” -Thomas Jefferson: in letter to Alexander von Humboldt, December 6, 1813

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Good Words

“I am for freedom of religion and against all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Elbridge Gerry, January 26, 1799

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Good Words

“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, then that of blindfolded fear.” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787

Jefferson didn't believe in a limited god either.

Good Words

“In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is error alone that needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.” ~Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Horatio Spofford, 1814

Friday, September 20, 2013

Good Words

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Baptists of Danbury, Connecticut, 1802

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

...for my Tea Party friends...