Would there be a country named the “United States of America” without Thomas Paine? After all, he is credited with first using that name for the new nation. George Washington had Paine’s words read to his ragtag troops, and Thomas Jefferson was a friend and admirer.
His famous quote stands on the header of this website:
“My country is the world and my religion is to do good.” (Rights of Man)
I also return time and again to the wisdom in The Age of Reason:
“I believe in the equality of [humankind]; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy.”
“My own mind is my own church.”
To honor his birthday (January 29, 1737), these words, high ideals of patriotism, seem appropriate to our time:
“[In America] the poor are not oppressed, the rich are not privileged …
If there is a country in the world where concord, according to common calculation, would be least expected, it is America. Made up, as it is, of people from different nations, accustomed to different forms and habits of government, speaking different languages, and more different in their modes of worship, it would appear that the union of such a people was impracticable; but by the simple operation of constructing government on the principles of society and the rights of man, every difficulty retires, and all the parts are brought into cordial unison.” Rights of Man
Paine’s ideals remain a high standard for us all to raise together.
Happy Birthday, Tom!