The efforts of certain Christian factions to cast themselves as the inheritors of America's Judaeo-Christian tradition find little support in the embarrassing heterodoxy of this Founding Father: "But the greatest of all reformers of the depraved religion of his own country was Jesus of Nazareth. Abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its lustre from the dross of his biographers, and as separable as the diamond from the dunghill, we have the outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man; outlines which it is lamentable he did not live to fill up. . . . The establishment of the innocent and genuine character of this benevolent moralist, and the rescuing it from the imputation of imposture, which has resulted from artificial systems, invented by ultra-Christian sects, unauthorized by a single word ever uttered by him, is a most desirable object. . . ."
Source: Letter to William Short, October 31 (Halloween), 1819
Contributed by: Zaady