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Bill of Rights - Freedom of religion - Essay Example

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In 1649, the Catholic Maryland adopted the “Act Concerning Religion” .This act protected Protestants and Catholics who professed to believe in Jesus Christ from being prosecuted by puritans …
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Bill of Rights - Freedom of religion
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Download file to see previous pages The documentation of religious beginning in America is found in the Mayflower Compact of 1620 which is a common referencing material. In 1648, the “Lauues and Liberty” of Massachusetts adopted banishment as the punishment to any person who criticized the baptizing of infants. Execution was put forward as the punishment for any one who worshiped any other God rather than the Lord God. The witch, blasphemer or a child who cursed their parents were executed through capital punishment. In 1648 and 1688, a total of five women were put to death because of practicing witchcraft and 16 other practitioners of witchcraft were put to death through hanging on the Salem Common in 1692. In 1660, Mary Dyer who was a Quaker was hanged On Boston Common after it was alleged she refused to stop preaching that the baptizing of infants was wrong and people may have a direct relationship with God without clergy intervening. In year 1659 and 1661, three other Quakers were hanged on the Boston Common for heresy. The Puritans of Massachusetts and the Anglicans believed in God, Slavery and witchcraft but they did not believe in religious freedom. (Gunn, 2004, p 442)1(Gunn, 2004, p 442) In 1649, the Catholic Maryland adopted the “Act Concerning Religion” .This act protected Protestants and Catholics who professed to believe in Jesus Christ from being prosecuted by puritans 2(Feldberg, 2002, p 8). However, the law later established a death penalty among the people who did not believe in trinity and prevented any critical utterances against the evangelists, the virgins and the apostles. Many of the legislators saw the law as helping to reduce religious conflicts but the Puritans of Maryland opposed it because it was very negligent and later requested the American Puritans to suppress the law. When Cromwell came into power in England, the Puritans of Maryland and Virginia joined other groups in ousting the Catholics and the Act was revoked in 1654. As a result, four Catholics were executed, all Catholics priest were exiled and Jesuit estates vandalized. The Maryland experiment in tolerating of religious ideologies only lasted for five years. (Gunn, 2004, p 443) In the 17th and 18th centuries, anti-catholic, laws discriminating against Catholics existed through out colonies. In some instances, the Huguenots who had fled from France supported the legislation. The Pennsylvanians who for along time resisted the anti-catholic laws that prohibited Catholics to hold political office and from voting also embraced the laws. In 1774, the English parliament adopted the Act of Quebec Act which provided religious freedoms to all catholic in her colonies. The Continental Congress and the legislatures in America condemned the Act for establishing an act of tyranny even though; the Act provided partial freedom to Catholics. Thus freedom of religion became the first right to be identified in the Bill of Right. The problem was that the statement of “free exercises of religion” was omitted in the fist constitution on the Bill of Right. In 1787, the congress debates led to the adoption of the Bill of Rights but they did not assert that the freedom of religion was above other rights. Even after the Bill of Rights and the constitution was ratified, freedom of religion did not manifest itself uniformly since anti-catholism was prevailing in all protestant settlements. In the 18 century, the prominent personalities in America who struggled for religious liberty like Thomas Jefferson engaged in the condemnation of anti-catholism. John jay sponsored a law which was meant to deny the Catholics political rights unless they gave up their allegiance to the pope. (Gunn, 2004, p 444) In 1786, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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