"All the epithets I have here given to the Romish policy are just; and will be allowed to be so, when it is considered, that they even persuaded mankind to believe, faithfully and undoubtingly, that God Almighty had intrusted them with the keys of heaven, whose gates they might open and close at pleasure—with a power of dispensation over all the rules and obligations of morality—with authority to license all sorts of sins and crimes—with a power of deposing princes, and absolving subjects from allegiance—with a power of procuring or withholding the rain of heaven, and the beams of the sun—with the management of earthquakes, pestilence and famine.——Nay, with the mysterious, awful, incomprehensible power of creating out of bread and wine, the flesh and blood of God himself. All these opinions they were enabled to spread and rivet among the people, by reducing their minds to a state of sordid ignorance and staring timidity; and by infusing into them a religious horror of letters and knowledge. Thus was human nature chained fast for ages, in a cruel, shameful, and deplorable servitude, to him and his subordinate tyrants; who, it was foretold, would exalt himself above all that was called God, and that was worshipped." [bold face mine]
This Adams was a hoot. He implys the Popes were the anti-christ. However, there is nothing to refute Adams was an orthodox Christian, and taken as one, by our nation prior to his retirement. The public didn't know he was unitarian. Adams would say anything to make a point, no one knowing what he really believed:
The great and almighty Author of nature, who at first established those rules which regulate the World, can as easily Suspend those Laws whenever his providence sees sufficient reason for such suspension. This can be no objection, then, to the miracles of J [Jesus] C [Christ]. Altho' some very thoughtfull, and contemplative men among the heathen, attained a strong persuasion of the great Principles of Religion, yet the far greater number having little time for speculation, gradually sunk in to the grossest Opinions and the grossest Practices.--John Adams diary March 2, 1756
His thanksgiving fast of 1797 supports the claim he was viewed as orthodox. His excuse why he lost the election of 1800, is not true. Adams based his ouster on the principle of thanksgiving fasts, contrary to what he believed, were actually very popular. He purposefully lied--what he did his entire life--believing he was falsely accused of "meddling with religion" and "to promote a national establishment of Presbyterianism in America." Where is the evidence for that? The Jeffersonian Aurora? In fact, his party was split due to his feud with Hamilton. Adams even claims Catholics, among others, were at odds with Presbyterians, yet earlier he writes, there were hardly any catholics around:
A native of America who cannot read and write, is as rare an appearance as a Jacobite, or a Roman Catholic, i. e. as rare as a comet or an earthquake.
--Essay on Canon Law.
You can't believe a word this guy says. He exaggerates everything. Both Adams and Thomas Jefferson were two peas in a pod.