FACT CHECK: Did Thomas Jefferson Say, ‘Christianity Is The Best Friend Of Government’?

Aislinn Murphy | Fact Check Editor

A Facebook post credits founding father Thomas Jefferson with saying, “The reason Christianity is the best friend of Government is because Christianity is the only religion that changes the heart.”

Verdict: False

There is no evidence that Jefferson ever said or wrote this. His estate at Monticello includes the saying on its list of “spurious quotations.”

Fact Check:

The quote has been frequently attributed to Jefferson on social media, appearing in numerous memes and posts on Facebook. (RELATED: Did Abraham Lincoln Say ‘To Sin By Silence When They Should Protest, Makes Cowards Of Men’?)

However, the Daily Caller found no record of Jefferson ever saying or writing this expression. A search of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson returned no results matching the alleged saying. It doesn’t appear in a collection of his quotes and letters either.

His estate at Monticello also includes the statement on its list of “spurious quotations.” The first known appearance in print dates back to 1996, according to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.

When discussing the function of religion in Jefferson’s life, Monticello noted that he did think Christianity was the best religion for a republic like the U.S., though Jefferson did not uphold all the traditions of orthodox Christianity.

Aislinn Murphy

Fact Check Editor
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