For 5,000+ years, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who said "I never change" and "this Torah shall never change" never once even hinted that He was a "trinitarian" "god", and the Israelites who followed Him all that time never ONCE considered this possibility in any perspective in any of their voluminous writings. Jesus Himself, who said He was the SON of God 46 times, and who also said "not a tittle of the Torah can fail", confirmed that God was NOT a "trinity". So where then does the "church" get the authority to add words to Scripture which were never there before, to attempt to justify their BLASPHEMY which claims that God DID change, Jesus DID lie, and the "trinity" ALWAYS existed?
Not from a single word of the million words in Scripture could they have deduced such a concept, so they simply made it up out of whole cloth. Those who read Scripture in the original Greek and Hebrew, like all of our Founding Fathers, and all of Jesus' Twelve Disciples, have universally concluded that God is NOT a "trinity", that in spite of the jews' charge that Jesus CLAIMED to be God in the flesh [for which they demanded He be murdered] that He was not and never claimed to be, and that trinitarians are LIARS.
The close proximity of the refusal by the British Parliament in 1771 of a key unitarian petition and the American Revolutionary War five years later in 1776 cannot be ignored, even though our history books do. If this was such an emotional issue that "dissenters were not allowed to hold public office" in England, then why would it not have been equally as emotional an issue for Americans who were dissatisfied with King George in so many other ways? Such timing suggests that this was a KEY issue in the Revolution, but ignored by historians.
And Benjamin Franklin was there in England, in Joseph Priestly's unitarian church, in 1774, a scant two years before the Revolution? What Mr. Franklin did NOT admit is of far more interest than what he did admit about his unitarian religious beliefs.
Mr. Jefferson's letter to Joseph Priestly [below] is proof that Mr. Jefferson knew about the degraded morals of jews, that it was they who LIED about Jesus claiming to BE God, that Mr. Jefferson did NOT accept the trinitarian view, and that "incorrectness of their [jews'] ideas of the Deity" is proof that Mr. Jefferson was a UNITARIAN who rejected the jew LIE and accepted the truth spoken by Jesus Himself.
Because of the huge philosophical gap between unitarians and trinitarians, it's impossible to offer "free exercise of religion" to BOTH at the same time, in the same country, under the same constitution. So then what does this phrase mean? It cannot apply to both unitarians and trinitarians. And when we consider that it was unitarians who dissented from the Church of England's trinitarian position, and that our Founding Fathers spilt BLOOD and won a WAR on behalf of their religious beliefs, it can only mean that it applies ONLY to unitarians.
"Free exercise of religion" as emblazoned in the US Constituion does NOT apply to the radical extremist minority calling themselves trinitarians! It applies ONLY to those who can properly discern the Word of God--ISRAELITES.
The Toleration Act was passed by the British Parliament in 1689. This act permitted other religious denominations, such as Puritans, Quakers, Baptists, Catholics, and Jews, to legally exist in England alongside the Church of England. However, these non-Anglican denominations, referred to as dissenters or nonconformists, could only refer to their meeting houses as chapels. The word "church" was reserved for the Church of England. Also, dissenters were not allowed to hold public office, serve in the armed forces or attend the universities.
Within the Anglican Communion there was also growing unrest over the parliamentary requirement that the Anglican clergy must "subscribe" to the doctrinal articles of the church, including the Athanasian doctrine of the Trinity. For nearly a century afterwards a growing controversy continued over that requirement. A climax was reached in 1771, when Parliament refused a petition to abolish the requirement of "subscription." This precipitated some of the non-subscribing clergy to withdraw from the church. One of these, Theophilus Lindsey, was the organizer of the first Unitarian congregation in England. Lindsey conducted his first service for a large congregation in an auction room on Essex Street, London, on April 14th, 1774. Among those in that first congregation were Benjamin Franklin and his friend, Joseph Priestley.
Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743-July 4, 1826) is known the world over as the principal author, in 1776 at age 33, of the Declaration of Independence; as author of the Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom instituting separation of church and state in Virginia, passed in 1786; and as third president of the United States, 1801-09. As president Jefferson commissioned the Lewis and Clark expedition, launched in 1803, to map the vast, unknown territory northwest of St. Louis; and he negotiated and persuaded Congress to fund the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, greatly increasing the size of the U.S. He also protected crucial trade interests of his young nation by making war with the Barbary States,1801-05.
Jefferson held many other public offices. He was a delegate to the House of Burgesses in colonial Virginia, 1769-76; Governor of Virginia during the War for Independence, 1779-81; for five years U.S. Minister to France, 1785-89, where he observed events leading to the French Revolution; the first Secretary of State under George Washington, 1790-93; and Vice President under John Adams, 1797-1801.
The range of Jefferson's geniushis interests, abilities and accomplishmentswould be extraordinary in any age. He is famous for his garden, for the precise observations he made of his varied plants and for his inventions which included the dumb-waiter and a machine that duplicated handwriting. After his retirement from politics, he devoted much time and energy to founding the University of Virginia, opened to students in 1825. A capable architect, he designed his plantation home, Monticello, and the early buildings of the University of Virginia. Only one book of his authorship, Notes on Virginia, was published in his lifetime. Publication of his letters alone, however, not to mention his state papers, now fill many volumes. He was throughout his long life an avid student of many fields. Late in his life Congress purchased his library, at that time the largest in the country, making it the core collection of the new Library of Congress. Congress published posthumously, in 1904, his collation of extracts from the Gospels, now known as the "Jefferson Bible."
The character of Jefferson's religion is one of the most interesting aspects of his intriguing life. Certain evangelicals, who were also his political opponents, tried very hard to make Jefferson's religion a factor in elections. They filled the press with scurrilous attacks on his "deistical" beliefs. He made it his steadfast policy never to respond to any of these attacks or, indeed, to make any public statement at all concerning his faith. Ironically, in spite of the attacks, evangelicals flocked to support Jefferson because they favored the end of tax support for established churcheswhich meant freedom for their independent churchesas passionately as did he. Today religious conservatives portray Jefferson as a sympathetic figure, unaware of his religious beliefs, his understanding of religious freedom or his criticisms of evangelical religiosity.
These facts about Jefferson's religion are known. He was raised as an Anglican and always maintained some affiliation with the Anglican Church. He was also known to contribute financially, in fair proportion, to every denomination in his town. While a student at William and Mary College, he began to read the Scottish moral philosophers and other authors who had made themselves students of church history. These scholars opened the door for Jefferson's informed criticism of prevailing religious institutions and beliefs. But it was the world renowned English Unitarian minister and scientist, Joseph Priestley, who had the most profound impact on his thought. According to Priestley's Corruptions of Christianity, published in 1782, and many other of his books, the teachings of Jesus and his human character were obscured and obfuscated in the early Christian centuries. As the Church Fathers adapted Christianity to Mediterranean-primarily Greek-forms of thought, they contrived doctrines altogether foreign to Biblical thought, such as the doctrine of the Trinity. Jefferson assumed that a thoroughly reformed Christian faith, true to Jesus' teaching, would be purged of all Greek influence and doctrinal absurdity.
I must repeat that this letter is to be considered as private and friendly, and is not to control any particular instructions which you may receive through official channel. You will also perceive how sacredly it must be kept within your own breast, and especially how improper to be understood by the Indians. For their interests and their tranquillity it is best they should see only the present age of their history. I pray you to accept assurances of my esteem and high consideration.
JESUS, SOCRATES, AND OTHERS
To Dr. Joseph Priestley
Washington, Apr. 9, 1803
DEAR SIR, -- While on a short visit lately to Monticello, I received from you a copy of your comparative view of Socrates & Jesus, and I avail myself of the first moment of leisure after my return to acknolege the pleasure had in the perusal of it, and the desire it excited to see you take up the subject on a more extensive scale. In consequence of some conversation with Dr. Rush, in the year 1798-99, I had promised some day to write him a letter giving him my view of the Christian system. I have reflected often on it since, & even sketched the outlines in my own mind. I should first take a general view of the moral doctrines of the most remarkable of the antient philosophers, of whose ethics we have sufficient information to make an estimate, say of Pythagoras, Epicurus, Epictetus, Socrates, Cicero, Seneca, Antoninus. I should do justice to the branches of morality they have treated well; but point out the importance of those in which they are deficient. should then take a view of the deism and ethics of the Jews, and show in what a degraded state they were, and the necessity they presented of a reformation. I should proceed to a view of the life, character, & doctrines of Jesus, who sensible of incorrectness of their ideas of the Deity, and of morality, endeavored to bring them to the principles of a pure deism, and juster notions of the attributes of God, to reform their moral doctrines to the standard of reason, justice & philanthropy, and to inculcate the belief of a future state. This view would purposely omit the question of his divinity, & even his inspiration. To do him justice, it would be necessary to remark the disadvantages his doctrines have to encounter, not having been committed to writing by himself, but by the most unlettered of men, by memory, long after they had heard them from him; when much was forgotten, much misunderstood, & presented in very paradoxical shapes. Yet such are the fragments remaining as to show a master workman, and that his system of morality was the most benevolent & sublime probably that has been ever taught, and consequently more perfect than those of any of the antient philosophers.
So it was easy for Adams, but Jefferson had no Unitarian church in Virginia to unite with. He once notes in a letter that the closest one is in Baltimore. He was always willing to ride from Monticello to church services but not that far. And when Jefferson lived in Philadelphia he attended Joseph Priestly's Unitarian Church. His letters make it clear that he saw Unitarianism as primitive Christianity.
Thus I think we can safely classify America's third president as a conservative Unitarian. Like Adams he would have fallen into the Socinian category those who believed Jesus was quote, "from below," end quote. But his theology did not go beyond a belief that Jesus became the more example for humans while he was below.
Thomas Jefferson had a devotional side he came to believe in the efficacy of prayer. He was hopeful about life after death. He liked the Anglican liturgy, and he did not feel an urgent need to separate himself from his ancestral church. He believed in a supreme being who created and sustained the universe, but his God was not the triune God of orthodox Christianity or of the Anglican tradition. Had he officially converted to his real home in Unitarianism, he would have been that movements most famous convert.
Finally, I noted how Washingtons systematic refusal to take communion evidences that he wasnt an orthodox Christian but rather points in the direction of belief in the same unorthodox system of Enlightenment rationalism as Jefferson, Madison, and many other of the elite Virginia Whig-Episcopalians. Michael and Jana Novak, in their book on Washington, note that many Virginia Episcopalians likewise didnt take communion. Yes, but there were many Deists and Unitarians among the Virginia Episcopalians. And they were the ones who didnt take communion! At least, thats the impression I get from the testimony of Washingtons own minister, Dr. Abercrombie. Here he is on all of those elite Whig-Episcopalians, most notably Washington, who ducked communion:
With respect to the inquiry you make I can only state the following facts; that, as pastor of the Episcopal church, observing that, on sacramental Sundays, Gen. Washington, immediately after the desk and pulpit services, went out with the greater part of the congregation always leaving Mrs. Washington with the other communicants she invariably being one I considered it my duty in a sermon on Public Worship, to state the unhappy tendency of example, particularly of those in elevated stations who uniformly turned their backs upon the celebration of the Lords Supper. I acknowledge the remark was intended for the President; and as such he received it.
Washington never attended that Church on communion Sundays again. But more to the point, here is Dr. Abercrombie being very direct on the matter: Sir, Washington was a Deist.
In a letter, dated November 29, 1831, Abercrombie explains why he thought Washington a Deist:
That Washington was a professing Christian, is evident from his regular attendance in our church; but, Sir, I cannot consider any man as a real Christian who uniformly disregards an ordinance so solemnly enjoined by the divine Author of our holy religion, and considered as a channel of divine grace.
Now, clearly Washington believed in a warm-intervening Providence and wasnt a Deist in that strict sense. But the notion that Washington was a Deist is an invention of modern revisionists historians is utter balderdash. Modern historians may be wrong in believing Washingtons God was a cold-distant watchmaker, but these scholars assert Washington was a Deist because his own ministers said so.
[note: Mr. Jefferson too was accused by others, mainly jews, of being a deist, even though he wrote in his own hand "I am a real Christian". It was jews who made this accusation because Mr. Jefferson correctly labled the jews as deists, so their charge is spurious and trivial. It's not correct for trinitarians to claim that unitarians are deists simply because they don't accept their churchianity view of the world, and it's particularly slanderous for a jew to make that claim of our unitarian Founding Fathers. Trinitarians who accept the jew LIE are anti-Christs, and unitarians who accept what Jesus said are the only "real Christians". Our Founding Fathers' rejection of the "church" is their ACCEPTANCE of Jesus]:
Webster's 1828 Dictionary
DEIST, n. One who believes in the existence of a God, but denies revealed religion, but follows the light of nature and reason, as his only guides in doctrine and practice; a freethinker.
John Adams, first of the four presidents who were Unitarians, was on-and-off friends with Thomas Jefferson, who had Unitarian leanings, but was not a member. Learned and thoughtful, John Adams was remarkable as a political philosopher and was one of the indispensable founders of our nation. Prior to serving as President, Adams was a delegate to the Continental Congress, a diplomat, and Vice President under George Washington.
John Adams had studied for the ministry, but came to believe that government service would be more exciting.
Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams were life-long members of First Parish Church, Quincy, Mass. Their tombs stand in a crypt within the church, beside those of their wives, Abigail and Louisa Catherine.
John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams was the only President who was the son of a President. (Until G W Bush) As a boy, his mother had told him that some day the state would rest upon his shoulders. It did not rest lightly.
Never publicly popular, often reviled by his political enemies, he nevertheless ended his life in the sunshine of national esteem. The presidency was only one of his careers, sandwiched between being a successful diplomat and Secretary of State, and, after the interlude of being President, an equally successful tenure as a Congressman who opposed slavery.
Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams were life-long members of First Parish Church, Quincy, Mass [a UNITARIAN church]. Their tombs stand in a crypt within the church, beside those of their wives, Abigail and Louisa Catherine.
Emerson was the first American Unitarian minister who influenced European Unitarianism. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Tom Paine, Henry David Thoreau, Adlai Stevenson and Clara Barton were among American Unitarians, or have been claimed by Unitarianism as being in harmony with Unitarian thought of their time. Albert Schweitzer was probably the best known European Unitarian.
Dr. Franklin and Dr. Priestley were intimate friends. Of Franklin, Priestley writes:
This great man was himself denounced as an Infidel. He was a Unitarian of the most advanced type, and was mobbed and driven from England on account of his heretical opinions and his sympathy with the French Revolution. Franklin's Infidelity must have been of a very radical character to have provoked the censure of Dr. Priestley.
"It is much to be lamented that a man of Franklin's general good character and great influence should have been an unbeliever in Christianity, and also have done as much as he did to make others unbelievers" (Priestley's Autobiography, p. 60).
Joseph Priestley was brilliant, multi-talented, and controversial. He was a scientist, author, linguist, teacher, cleric, and political activist. He was born near the city of Leeds in Yorkshire in 1733. He was the oldest of five children in a lower middle class family. After the death of his mother, Priestley's father struggled to keep the family together until Joseph was nine years old. Eventually, young Priestley was placed in the care of his Puritan aunt, Mrs. Sarah Keighley. Thus Joseph Priestley was raised as a Dissenter.
At the age of 19 years, just before he left home for the Nonconformist Academy at Daventry, Priestley sought membership in the church he had always attended with his aunt. A precursor of things to come became evident when the church elders refused him membership on the grounds that he did not appear to be quite orthodox. The nature of the dispute had to do with the doctrine of original sin.
Priestley's three years of accelerated study at the academy were happy ones where he found a liberal and inquiring atmosphere among his teachers and fellow students. After receiving an education in literature and natural philosophy, he entered the ministry at Needham Market, Suffolk at the age of 22.