Ready to LearnReligion and politics represent two different worlds; two different kinds of power. History clearly demonstrates that when governments try to mix politics with religion, people’s individual rights are trampled upon. As a result, the church loses credibility. A good example of this is the life of Roger Williams. He was a pivotal figure in the establishment of religious liberty in the United States. From the very beginning he was spurned by the religious and civil authorities of his time.
In 1635, they expelled Williams from the church. They ordered him to leave the Massachusetts colony because of his outspoken opposition to their treatment of native Americans.
“He upset the elders by denouncing the Massachusetts Bay charter, which allowed the confiscation of Native American lands without compensation and the punishment of purely religious transgressions by the civil officials. Both of those practices offended Williams sensibilities.”1
Another of Williams’ beliefs caused particular grief among the authorities. It was his insistence that people should be able to vote without declaring their religious status. “In essence, Williams was calling for the complete separation of church and state, a position that undercut the authority of the church and civic leaders.”2
Roger Williams was a rebel with a cause! His convictions endeared him to the native American people. They also helped set this country on a course that would eventually ensure religious freedom for everyone.
Proceed with Caution
The political leaders of the United States need to carefully protect The Bill of Rights to make sure that no one faith or religious ideology is endorsed by our government. Hopefully we will not forget the lessons painfully learned by our founding fathers.
Read this fascinating account: Roger Williams: Father of Religious Freedom
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