A Pioneer of Freedom of Conscience

In the wake of several supreme court decisions, many questions regarding the future of religious freedom and freedom of conscience have surfaced. In many respects, the ramifications of these rulings are yet to be seen; and that is why it is good to take a deep breath and look back at how Christians have responded in the past when these sort of issues have arisen.

You see, America did not always have religious freedom, but thanks to one pioneer in this realm of freedom, the foundation was laid -and the rest is history.

That pioneer was Roger Williams. Driven from his own roots in England and again from Massachusetts as a religious refugee, Roger Williams set out to establish a colony with religious freedom. He once said:

Men’s consciences ought never to be violated … for a religion that must be upheld by violence, is a religion that cannot be true.

Williams would eventually purchase land from the Native Americans and formed a new colony. Indeed, his colony, Rhode Island, would be home to many religious refugees, and his ideas would form the backbone for religious freedom in this country. When told by the Massachusetts governor to repent of such beliefs and move back, Williams refused with this reply:

I cannot; for I feel safer among the Christian savages, than I do among savage Christians.

To read a thought provoking article about Roger Williams and his beliefs about religious freedom and freedom of conscience, please look up the following: