Just now, at a dinner among 34 Catholic students and adults, in Rome, I proposed that we sing happy birthday to Thomas Jefferson. And we did. It was a rousing rendition to the greatest deist in American history. I then recited the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, which contains two of the handful of references to God and godhead in all of Jefferson’s writings.
Afterwards, one of the best students, caught up in the moment, said she was glad we sang to Saint Thomas Jefferson.
Everyone laughed at her gaffe, and several of the seminarians looked a little squeamish.
SAINT Thomas Jefferson. hard not to think that everyone touched by this–including of course Jefferson–is rolling in their graves.
It was Jefferson, after all, who gave us the haunting phrase, “wall of separation between church and state.”
Happy 273rd birthday, Mr. Jefferson, (I did note that we celebrate TJ’s birthday on 13 April (rather than 2 April) because finally, in the 1750s, England accepted the scientifically precise Gregorian reforms, thus “altering” the date of Jefferson’s birth by eleven days. So in this instance the Catholic world out-jeffersoned Jefferson.