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Historical Anniversaries

Why These Dates Are Important

January 1, 1802  
Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Association
This letter was the origin of the phrase "wall of separation between Church and State"

Here is the full text of the Danbury letter:

[To] Messrs. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins and stephen S. Nelson, A Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, in the State of Connecticut.

Gentlemen: The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only and 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 and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natual right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem.

January 22, 1561  
Francis Bacon
Father of the scientific method (b. 1561)

Francis Bacon, father of the "Scientific Method" and author of the paradigm-shifting Novum Organum, was born January 22, 1561 in Strand, London.

January 29, 1737  
Thomas Paine's Birthday
Patriot, founder, and freethinker (b. 1737)

American patriot Thomas Paine was born on January 29, 1737 in Thetford, England.


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From the officers:

The ACA Lecture Series continues Sunday, October 11th at 12:15pm in the Austin History Center, 9th and Guadalupe. The building opens at noon. Texas Freedom Network's Dan Quinn will give us an update on their activities. The lecture is free and open to the public.