Jefferson explaining church/state separation
Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to an association of Baptists explaining the separation of church and state.
The text of the letter as a sent and an earlier draft are part of the Library of Congress collection and make for an interesting read.
The line that jumps out at me:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, 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 prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
So Jefferson intended that government authority be limited to actions, leaving thoughts and opinions unrestrained.
I vaguely remember reading about this letter during American history class many years ago, but this is the first time I recall reading it… Fascinating.