Each amendment to our precious document we call the Constitution of the United States was carefully constructed by God fearing founders who loved liberty more than life and hated tyranny with righteous indignation. Having learned firsthand by experiences with tyranny from their mother country the necessity of a freedom loving people to do all in their power to keep tyrants in check in creating a government of the people, by the people and for the people, added each of these amendments with great thought, wisdom and prayer.
This event then leads for a time in religious toleration of other sects until it obtains major control, at which point it has absolute religious control (authority). At some point courageous thinking people begin to question the absolute control over their own conscience and become dissenters (dissenters are not tolerated) which grow in number to the place where they are legalized (licensed) dissenters in order to try to control them.
Tyrants know that the two things necessary for a dictatorship is to control the economy and to control the people's religion.
Our founding fathers fled Europe because of religious tyranny and settled the colonies with what they thought would be religious freedom.
However they did not learn their lessons well for they established within their own colonies "state churches." (Each colony had its own "Christian denomination" installed as the state church of that colony. )
Note the examples; 1607 Virginia's only church recognized was the church of England, 1609 New Amsterdam (New York) the Dutch Reformed Lutheran, 1620 Massachusetts Bay Colony / Congregational, 1633 Maryland / Roman Catholic, 1636 Connecticut / Puritans State Church. In all, 11 of the 13 colonies established state controlled religions where church attendance was mandatory and punishment for failure to attend was severe.
For the first absence one would have to go without food, the second offence would bring a public whipping and upon a third offence one would be forced to work in galleys for six months.
It has always amazed me that a people so oppressed for their desire for religious freedom could not see the importance of religious freedom, not only for themselves but also for all people. These seekers of religious freedom oppressed the others within their colonies who dared to follow their own conscience in the matter of religious thought and belief. Many preachers were jailed, beaten and severely punished for not submitting to the government sanctioned religion.
It was not until two men who came to Massachusetts for religious freedom learned that it was not to be found there and were threatened and banished from the colony that providence began to move to establish the first true colony on this planet where religious freedom would not only be preached but practiced.
In 1638 Dr. John Clark with Obadiah Holmes and John Crandall established the First (Historic) Baptist church in the colony of Rhode Island, this was the first place religious freedom was experienced with the colonies' chartering in 1663, less than 20 years later the next place to practice absolute religious liberty was with the founding of Pennsylvania by William Penn.
The Roof Garden Patriots will meet at 7 p.m. tonight at the Somerset Masonic Lodge Community Room - the public is invited.