"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."
-Benjamin Franklin, in Poor Richard's Almanac
"As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of all government to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I know of no other business which government hath to do therewith."
- Thomas Paine, Common Sense 1776
"Every new and successful example of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matter is of importance."
- President James Madison, in a letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822
"We all agree that neither the government nor political parties ought to interfere with religious sects. It is equally true that religious sects ought not to interfere with the government or political parties. We believe that the cause of good government and the cause of religion suffer by all such interference."
- Rutherford B. Hayes, in a statement as Governor of Ohio, 1875
"Whatever one's religion in his private life may be, for the officeholder, nothing takes precedence over his oath to uphold the Constitution and all its parts--including the First Amendment and the strict separation of church and state."
- President John F. Kennedy, Look magazine interview, 1959
"It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others."
- President Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Benjamin Rush, 1803
"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."
- President Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to the Danbury Baptists, 1802
"Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by a difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought to be deprecated."
- President George Washington, in a letter to Edward Newenham, 1792
I think we could use more of this caliber of politician in this day and age.