Benjamin Franklin on the Necessity of Religion

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"That wise Men have in all Ages thought Government necessary for the Good of Mankind; and, that wise Governments have always thought Religion necessary for the well ordering and well-being of Society, and accordingly have been ever careful to encourage and protect the Ministers of it, paying them the highest publick Honours, that their Doctrines might thereby meet with the greater Respect among the common People."

-- Benjamin Franklin (On that Odd Letter of the Drum, April 1730)

Reference: Franklin Collected Writings, Lemay, ed., 148.