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Handout B: Religious Toleration

Religious Toleration

Directions: Read the quotes below. Under each quote, complete the phrase given based on your understanding of the quote. At the bottom of the handout, summarize the arguments supporting religious toleration.

John Locke, “A Letter Concerning Toleration,” 1689

“What I say concerning the mutual Toleration of private Persons differing from one another in Religion, I understand also of particular Churches; which stand as it were in the same relation to each other as private Persons among themselves; nor has any one of them any manner of Jurisdiction over any other, no not even when the Civil Magistrate (as it sometimes happens) comes to be of this or the other Communion. For the Civil Government can give no new Right to the Church, nor the Church to the Civil Government. So that whether the Magistrate joyn himself to any Church, or separate from it, the Church remains always as it was before, a free and voluntary Society. It neither acquires the Power of the Sword by the Magistrate’s coming to it, nor does it lose the Right of Instruction and Excommunication by his going from it.”

Individuals should enjoy religious toleration because . . .

Act Concerning Religion, Maryland, 1649

“[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 with this Province.”

Individuals should enjoy religious toleration because…

Pennsylvania Charter of Privileges, 1701

“[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.”

Individuals should enjoy religious toleration because…

George Mason, Draft of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, 1776

“All Men should enjoy the fullest toleration in the exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience.”

Individuals should enjoy religious toleration because…

Massachusetts Constitution, 1780

“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.”

Individuals should enjoy religious toleration because…

Summary/Arguments in favor of religious toleration: