Religious Liberty: A U.S. Birthright for Conservatives and Progressives Alike

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From the pew of the UMC

Thank you. As a conservative/"traditionalist"/non-progressive, I accept that there are those that do not believe as I do and I respect their right to that. What I find troubling is that there are those who do not extend the same right to me. And when it comes to religious/spiritual matters, I am tired of being part of a church that has been a battleground for conflicting/contradictory theologies for so long it has degenerated into factions jockeying for position and control. I have absolutely no trouble understanding why the American United Methodist Church is experiencing 50 years of numerical decline that has the capability of making it disappear. Who wants to be part of something that has absolutely no clue about what it is and what it needs to be doing? I have discovered that after a lifetime of being a good Methodist/United Methodist, I have had enough of the theological mishmash that left me understanding nothing in particular when it came to living as a Christian, much less a Christian of the Methodist/persuasion. After monitoring the denomination for several years, it feels like I am part of a very bad movie titled "The Keystone Cops Do Church".

betsy 46 days ago

Where religious freedom began

Long before the First Amendment was even a thought, there were declarations of religious freedom in what is now the US. The first took place in Flushing, Queens, NY. Unlike all other towns in the area, the charter of Flushing (then Vlissingen) permitted freedom of conscience as practiced in Holland without the interference of government or church. In 1657, Peter Stuyvesant, the director general of the larger Dutch colony prohibited Quakers. Their practices of the time might include disrupting services in other churches, sometimes while stark naked and crying out, "Woe, woe." The good people of Flushing objected to the prohibition and demanded that the charter of their town be honored. On 27 December 1657, a document today known as the Flushing Remonstrance was signed. This contained remarkable language for its era including , "The Law of Love, Liberty, and Peace extending to Jews, Turks, and Egyptians, as they are considered to be the sonnes of Adam." Despite this, the matter was not settled for some years when the Dutch West India Company sided with the residents and told Stuyvesant to literally look the other way in matters of religion.

At the time of the adoption of the First Amendment, several states had official tax-supported churches. The last to be abolished was in 1833 in MA.

David 47 days ago

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