Religion and America’s Past – Toleration, Liberty, or Both?
Directions: Read your assigned document excerpts and write a brief paraphrase. Then place a check mark in the column that you believe best fits that document: is it an example of religious toleration, religious liberty, or both? Finally, write a one-sentence statement explaining why you categorized it as you did.
(Fillable Chart in PDF)
1. “God require[s] not a uniformity of religion to be enacted and enforced in any civil state … the permission of other consciences and worships than a state professe[s] only can (according to God) procure a firm and lasting peace…true civility and Christianity may both flourish in a state or kingdom, notwithstanding the permission of divers[e] and contrary consciences, either of Jew or Gentile…” –“A Plea for Religious Liberty” by Roger Williams, 1644
2. “[N]o person or persons … professing to believe in Jesus Christ, shall from henceforth be any waies troubled, Molested or discountenanced for or in respect of his or her religion nor in the free exercise thereof within this Province.” –Act Concerning Religion, Maryland, 1649
3. “[O]ur royal will and pleasure is, that no person within the said colony, at any time hereafter, shall be any way molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any differences in opinion in matters of religion, and … that all persons may, from time to time, and at all times hereafter, freely and fully have and enjoy his and their own judgments and consciences, in matters of religious concernments…” –Charter of the Colony of Rhode Island, 1663
4. “[N]o Person or Persons, inhabiting in this Province or Territories, who 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, shall be in any Case molested or prejudiced, in his or their Person or Estate, because of his or their conscientious Persuasion or Practice, nor be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious Worship, Place or Ministry, contrary to his or their Mind, or to do or suffer any other Act or Thing, contrary to their religious Persuasion … AND … all Persons who also profess to believe in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World, shall be capable … to serve this Government in any Capacity…” –Pennsylvania Charter of Privileges, 1701
5. “It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly and at stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the universe. And no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained, in his person, liberty, or estate, for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, or for his religious profession or sentiments, provided he doth not disturb the public peace or obstruct others in their religious worship.” –Massachusetts Constitution, 1780
6. “[N]o man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.” –Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, 1786
7. “[N]o religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” –United States Constitution, 1789
8. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” –First Amendment, 1791