Many have the mistaken idea that America was founded by a group of intellectual secularists, who permitted religious colonists to share this great nation if they stayed in the shadows and promised not to make trouble. However, the truth is America was founded by Pilgrim Calvinists, Catholic colonists and persecuted Pennsylvania Quakers. They all came for one paramount reason — freedom of conscience and religion for all. Although they differed in some particular doctrine, they all came seeking a place of refuge and a new beginning where they could live freely and worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience.
George Washington attested to this in his farewell address. He said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” Tocqueville was struck by the religious aspect of America, and how, with its its transcendent moral order, saw religion as America’s great helper in lifting and preserving a free society. “Religion in America takes no direct part in the government, nevertheless, it must be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country.”
No wonder the protection of religion is essential to our free society.
Morris Bastian, Boise
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