toleration vs freedom in a new republic

992 Words4 Pages
The Massachusetts Declaration of Rights demonstrates how the idea of religious toleration was well-suited with the provisional backing of churches in New England. The declaration is divided into three acts. The first article puts forth that all men are free and equal and have certain undeniable rights. The second article states that those men have not only the right, but a duty, to worship the “Supreme Being.” It goes further to say that no one shall have those rights restricted due to the manner in which they worship. The third act gives power to the people to have their legislature appropriate provisions for public houses of worship and to support public religious teachers. The third act also stated that the legislature could command the people to attend the public religious instructions as long as the instruction is not offending to their beliefs. The third act closes by stating that every Christian denomination would be equally protected by law. The Massachusetts Declaration of Rights is a perfect example of religious toleration and it is exactly that: tolerant. The simple fact that the declaration gives power to the legislature to command the people to attend religious teachings is irrefutable evidence that Massachusetts felt that there should be a connection between church and state. Also, the fact that the public can use their taxes for the maintenance of the public houses of worship and religious instruction “to promote their happiness and to secure the good order and preservation of their government” also lends its support. The declaration, at times, reads vague and confusing. Its exact message may seem unclear, but the point seems to be that Massachusetts, while in favor of some individual religious rights, wants to keep a handle on just how far those rights can extend. The Virginia Statute of Religious Liberty conveys the far-reaching

More about toleration vs freedom in a new republic

Open Document