Roger Williams' view on religious liberty in society

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by True Blue Tuna, Sep 23, 2003.

  1. True Blue Tuna

    True Blue Tuna
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    This is from a Baptist site I found this evening:

    http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/roger-williams.html

    “That ever I should speak or write a tittle that tends to such an infinite liberty of conscience is a mistake, and which I have ever disclaimed and abhorred. To prevent such mistakes, I at present shall only propose this case. There goes many a ship to sea, with many a hundred souls in one ship, whose weal and woe is common; and is a true picture of a commonwealth, or a human combination, or society. It hath fallen out sometimes that both Papists and Protestants, Jews and Turks, may be embarked into one ship. Upon which supposal, I do affirm that all the liberty of conscience, that ever I pleaded for, turns upon these two hinges, that none of the Papists, Protestants, Jews or Turks, be forced to come to the ship’s prayers or worship; nor secondly compelled from their own particular prayers or worship, if they practice any.
     
  2. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    I think the "doors" of religious liberty should pivot quite well on these two hinges, provided both are kept well-greased - the government should not establish a religion and compel any thereto, and should keep the way open for the free exercise thereof.
     
  3. True Blue Tuna

    True Blue Tuna
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    I think it's important to note what Roger Williams said:

    (1)that none of the Papists, Protestants, Jews or Turks, be forced to come to the ship’s prayers or worship; (2) nor secondly compelled from their own particular prayers or worship, if they practice any.

    This says two things to me, which I've numbered above:

    (1) making someone sit through prayers they don't agree with, or attend services they don't agree with, is wrong;

    (2) trying to prevent someone from their prayers or worship is wrong.

    Point (1) above would seem to rule out school prayers in public education.

    Point (2) would provide for religious freedom of practice - if such a person has a religion.
     

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