Dear Tea Party People:

Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word ‘Jesus Christ,’ so that it should read ‘a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion.’ The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan [Muslim], the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.

– Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826), third president of the United States, author of the Declaration of Independence, referring to the Virginia Statute For Religious Freedom, which became law on January 16, 1786.”

The Onion makes the same point with a touch more humor.

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