A History Lesson

Over at Talk2Action MainStreamBaptist has provided a little history lesson for those who like to think this country was founded as a Christian nation.

When you look at the early history of this nation you see what theocracy will look like if the right wing ever are allowed to establish it.

Roger Williams founded the colony of Rhode Island and established the first Baptist church in America.
Williams was not the only Baptist to suffer such persecution. John Clarke, pastor of the Baptist Church at Newport, Rhode Island published an account of religious persecution in New England in his Ill News from New-England(1652). In it he told how in the summer of 1651, Obadiah Holmes, John Crandall, and John Clarke — all members of the Baptist Church at Newport, Rhode Island — were arrested and imprisoned for holding an unauthorized worship service in the home of a blind Baptist named William Witter who lived at Lynn, Massachusetts outside Boston. They were sentenced to be fined or whipped. Fines for Clarke and Crandall were paid by friends. Holmes refused to let friends pay his fine and was publicly whipped on the streets of Boston on September 6, 1651

and

As bad as it was for Baptists, it was worse for Quakers.
Sydney Ahlstrom records some of the ways that the authorities dealt with Quakers, “In July 1656 the ship Swallow anchored in Boston Harbor. It became known quickly that on board were two Quaker women, Mary Fisher and Ann Austin, who had shipped from Barbados. The authorities moved swiftly. The women were kept on ship while their belongings were searched and more than one hundred books confiscated. Although there was as yet no law against Quakers in Massachusetts, the two were hurried off to jail, stripped of all their clothing, and inspected for tokens of witchcraft. After five weeks, the captain of the Swallow was placed under a 100 pound bond to carry them back to Barbados.” A Religious History of the American People, p. 178.

When these efforts failed to keep Quakers out of the colony, they resorted to more drastic measures. William Robinson, Marmaduke Stephenson, and William Leddra are listed among the Quaker martyrs in Massachusetts. The last Quaker martyr in Massachusetts, Mary Dyer, was hanged in the Boston Common on June 1, 1660. All died in defiance of a law banning Quakers from Massachusetts Bay Colony.

A statue of Mary Dyer now stands in front of the State Capitol in Massachusetts as a constant reminder of the Colony’s shameful legacy of religious intolerance.

Christianists, reconstructionists and theocrats long for those “good old days” of religious intollerance. In fact they believe they are so entitled to such an iron-fisted rule, they are “persecuted” if we oppose them.

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