Jefferson and Religious Freedom

To mark Religious Freedom Day, John Ragosta, author of the forthcoming Religious Freedom: Jefferson’s Legacy, America’s Creed, has just published a piece in the Washington Post showing us an 18th-century Virginia in which all citizens paid taxes to the Anglican church, and clergy of other churches—including Virginia’s many Baptist and Presbyterian congregations—were persecuted, and even jailed, if they dared to preach. In response, Jefferson authored the Virginia Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom, which demanded a separation of church and state. This piece of legislation passed into law and, ultimately, became the foundation for the First Amendment. You may read Ragosta’s Washington Post piece here. Religious Freedom: Jefferson’s Legacy, America’s Creed will be published in April.