That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves [and abhors], is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness; and is withdrawing from the ministry those temporal rewards, which proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labours for the instruction of mankind.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
“Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom,” Preamble (1776-06-18; enacted 1786-01-16)

The words in [brackets] were removed before final passage. The term "temporal rewards" was mistranscribed into statute as "temporary rewards."

Added on 26-Sep-07 | Last updated 1-Jul-24
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