The Philosophical Roots of Jeffersonian Freedom of Religion and Conscience

 Timothy Shah delivering remarks on Religious Freedom Day | Photo: RFI/Abigail Galvan 

Timothy Shah delivering remarks on Religious Freedom Day | Photo: RFI/Abigail Galvan 

At a Religious Freedom Day event at the new Museum of the Bible in Washington, Religious Freedom Institute Senior Advisor Tim Shah spoke on key ideas Thomas Jefferson drew from the Bible when drafting his Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.  The Virginia Statute is a foundational document that disestablished the Anglican Church in Virginia and led to full religious freedom in America for people of all faiths

Jefferson’s belief in humanity’s natural and inalienable right to religious freedom informed his authoring of both the Virginia Statute and the Declaration of Independence.  Tim Shah’s talk describes how, rather than being derived from modern and secular Enlightenment thought, Jefferson’s convictions were deeply rooted in ancient and biblical views on human freedom and equality.

Religious Freedom Institute Senior Advisor and Director of the United States Action Team, Byron Johnson moderated a discussion at the event on the ways in which the Bible has influenced the philosophical, political, and cultural conversations around religious freedom.

Below is the full video of the event and panel discussion. (Tim Shah’s remarks begin at 20:50.)