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SUNDAY REVELATIONS: Freedom from religion

jeffersonAlthough Jefferson attended the nominally Anglican churches of Virginia, his writings and excision of miracles from the Christian bible led to his opponents to label our third President an atheist.

Jefferson’s support for separation of church and state involved real experiences in the colonies.   New England was a reservoir of religious oppression becauae of the intolerance of the Puritans.   befriended Baptist minister John Leland. Leland was a a Baptist in Anglican New England, his sect was persecuted in the land of the pilgrims.

In 1802, Leland presented Jefferson with a pungent gift — a giant wheel of cheese. The minister placed Jefferson’s favorite quote on its red crust: “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”

Jefferson must have liked the outlandish gift. On Jan. 1, 1802, Jefferson — then the president — invited Leland and his wheel of “mammoth cheese” to the White House.

It was not to be for another 203 years before another President, Barak Obama, hosted the first seder in the White House.


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