by Lana Krumwiede
We wanted to include the First Freedom Center in this anthology because some really important things happened there. The First Freedom Center website explains that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. “This 1786 Virginia law, brilliantly shepherded through the General Assembly by James Madison, laid the ideological groundwork for the religion clauses of the First Amendment and has served as a model for other state constitutions and constitutions around the world. It is considered the essential counterpart to the Declaration of Independence.”
Pretty amazing, right? But I hesitated to write about those events because I didn’t want to write a history lesson. I wanted it to be a story that illustrated what those rights are all about. So I read the statute itself, and a couple of phrases really jumped out at me: “Truth is great, and will prevail if left to herself… She is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error and has nothing to fear from the conflict.”
I loved how Jefferson personified Truth and Error. Also, I have a Quaker ancestor whose name was “Truth Will Prevail.” Seriously. That is true! So I thought it would be fitting to write about Truth and Error as characters who experience a direct conflict. This story is different from the others in the collection, as it takes place in an Anytown kind of place that is meant to represent all communities. It’s an allegory of sorts with characters that personify human traits and concepts.