THOMAS JEFFERSON

A PRESIDENTIAL CONNECTION

On October 7, 1801, the Danbury Baptist Association, which Patterson Baptist Church was part of, wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson, the newly elected President of the United States. They asked him to honor the historic Baptist principle of Religious Liberty. They feared the government would favor one religion above others. The Religious Liberty principle contends the state should not establish a state religion, nor involve itself in the affairs of the church; nor pass any laws restricting the free-exercise of religion. It affirms the church must follow the laws of the land, as long as man’s laws do not violate God’s laws.  President Jefferson responded and agreed to defend their principle of Religious Liberty. He agreed government should stay out of the affairs of the church. He said there should be a “wall of separation between church and state.” 

 

It is fitting that the quarry, behind the church, was used not only to make the historic stone wall in front of the church and around the cemetery, but also to help build some of the memorials in Washington, D.C. Also, one of the monuments in the church cemetery was made by John Russell Pope, the man who made the Jefferson Memorial.