Religious Freedom In Colonial America

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In today 's society, religious freedom is the freedom of the individual or community to practice any religion they believe in. It was often misunderstood that American colonist were in search of religious liberty, but in reality groups such as the Puritans and Pilgrims who left Europe to escape religious persecution sought the liberty to practice their own faith and often were intolerant of religious diversity. During this time, religion and the government went hand and hand. These leaders of the church were also leaders in the government and would enforce strict religious observance. In the beginning of Colonial America, religion and the government were inseparable and often leaders like John Winthrop would persecute dissenters who didn 't…show more content…
Another well know spokesmen of religious freedom is William Penn, who was the founder of Pennsylvania and a Quaker. Quakers believed that the "spirit of God dwelled within all people, not just the elect" (46). William Penn established Pennsylvania Charter of Privileges and Liberties which states "no person or persons…shall confess and acknowledge One almighty God, the Creator, Upholder, and Ruler of the World; and profess him or themselves obliged to live quietly under the Civil Government" (47). The charter declared the freedom of worship for all monotheists and any other group free to follow their own beliefs without fear of persecution. William Penn wanted the colony to be a place where everyone could live together with all religions equal to…show more content…
Thomas Jefferson is one of the most influential individuals to shape what America is today. Thomas Jefferson was a strong advocate of the separation of church and state and in 1779 he drafted a bill for establishing religious freedom. He opposed by many who favored governmental support. Jefferson expressed that God had "created the mind free, and manifested his supreme will that free it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint" (105). Jefferson is declaring that God gave freedom of thought and man the freedom to choose his religious beliefs. It is God who gave us the ability to believe and not to believe and not church 's decision to make for us. He goes on to say "the impious presumption of legislature and ruler, civil as well as ecclesiastical" are fallible to assume "dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions" and compelling men to contribute money for the religion to which they do not believe in, calling it "sinful and tyrannical" (106). Jefferson states that no one should be obliged to attend church or support it with his taxes. It is our natural rights of mankind to be able to profess our own matters of religion. Jefferson proclaims in his bill the establishment for freedom of conscience and the separation of the church
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