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Religious Tolerance

Roger Williams, who fled Massachusetts and founded Rhode Island colony in pursuit of religious liberty, writes in The Bloody Tenant of Persecution (1644):

"It is the will and command of God that, since the coming of his Son, the Lord Jesus, a permission of the most Paganish, Jewish, Turkish, or antichristian consciences and worships be granted to all men in all nations and countries: and they are only to be fought against with that sword which is only, in soul matters, able to conquer: to wit, the sword of God's Spirit, the Word of God.

"God requires not a uniformity of religion to be enacted and enforced in any civil state; which enforced uniformity, sooner or later, is the greatest occasion of civil war, ravishing of conscience, persecution of Christ Jesus in his servants, and of the hypocrisy and destruction of millions of souls. The permission of other consciences and worships than a state professeth only can, according to God, procure a firm and lasting peace. ..."

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