Thomas Paine – Like most of the Founders, he was a Deist who rejected orthodox Christianity. He said, instead, that his religion was “to do good.”
“As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of government to protect all conscientious protesters thereof, and I know of no other business government has to do therewith. ” ~~ Common Sense, 1776.
“Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law.” ~~ The Rights of Man, 1791-1792
“All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”