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By Charles C. Haynes
First Amendment Center
Thomas Jefferson may be an iconic Founder today, but in the 1800 presidential campaign he was widely condemned for being an “atheist in religion and a fanatic in politics” who (it was rumored) had a secret plan to confiscate all the Bibles in the land.
Sad truth be told, rumors, smears and nasty debates over the religious affiliation, or lack thereof, of candidates for office have marred American political campaigns since the early days of the Republic.
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