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Great Awakening Principle: The Dignity of the Human Being

February 16, 2018
The Founding

How the Great Awakening Reinforced Human Dignity and Worth

The Creation of Adam and Eve by Giulio Carpioni (1613-1679)

The Great Awakening was a Christian evangelical revival in 1700s America that increased awareness among colonial Americans of Judeo-Christian beliefs and ideas.  One idea that became more prominent among Revivalists was the dignity and worth of the human being.  Revivalists indirectly supported human dignity by affirming important concepts in the Bible—that human beings are made in God’s image, possess immortal souls, and may be spiritually redeemed.  Such concepts undoubtedly affected American values, culture, and political thought, including the American concept of individual rights.

One belief among revival-era Americans that affirmed human dignity was that mankind is created by God and made in God’s image.  Genesis 1:26-27 states, “So God created man in His own image.  Male and female He created them.”  In God’s image, the human body and soul reflect godly aspects.  Though man’s reflection of God is tainted due to man’s fall and sin, man still retains, albeit imperfectly, godly qualities.  European reformer John Calvin, who Revivalists like Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield studied, wrote in his Institutes of the Christian Religion about God’s reflection in the human body and soul.  He noted the scientific wonder of the human body and the god-like abilities of the human mind, emotion, will, and conscience.  Human beings, for example, can explore the universe, invent works of art, express love, remember things, and more.  All these aspects, Calvin observed, demonstrate God’s agency in mankind—that “the human race are a bright mirror of the Creator’s works” and possess “excellent gifts with which God has endued us, attesting that He is our Father.”  American theologian of the Awakening, Jonathan Edwards affirmed this view of mankind, writing in his Miscellaneous Observations that human beings are God’s “principal part of creation” who “have understanding, are voluntary agents, and can produce works of their own will, design, and contrivance, as God does.”

A particularly notable aspect of mankind that reflects God is the human conscience.  Every person, Edwards explained in his The Nature of True Virtue, is born with a conscience, an internal sense of good and evil, right and wrong, that approves virtue and disapproves vice.  This conscience substantiates God’s moral law in the universe, the Law of Nature, so that man might love God and others, and do what is right and good.  Humans reflect God when they follow the conscience, act morally, and demonstrate love.

Another belief among Revivalists that strengthened human dignity was the immortal human soul.  Revivalists, as Calvin, believed human beings are made alive by God’s own breath of life based on Genesis 2:7:  “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”  In his Soul’s Immortality, Edwards cited numerous verses to affirm man’s immortal soul.  In Ecclesiates 12:7, for example, Solomon says, “The dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”  In Matthew 10:28, Jesus instructs His disciples, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, fear God who his able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  In 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, the Apostle Paul exhorts believers, “Whether we wake [live bodily] or sleep [die bodily], we should live together with Christ.”  In Luke 23:43, Jesus comforts the repentant criminal hanging on a cross next to Him:  “Today you will be with me in Paradise.”  Edwards thus confirmed that the human soul is “capable of existence and thought, and according to abundant scriptural declarations, enjoys them both when the body is dead.”

Perhaps the most important revivalist belief to reinforce human dignity was that the human soul can be redeemed by God.  As Edwards noted in his Wisdom of God, God in Christ was crucified and “endured so much to purchase salvation” for people in order to “bestow eternal life on them.”  The notion of the individual’s potential for spiritual redemption, and the price Christ paid for it, highlights the worth of the human being in God’s eyes.  American Founder Benjamin Franklin, in his 1758 The Way to Wealth, expressed well the growing understanding at that time of human worth: 

Though the Great Awakening was not an explicitly political movement, the revived awareness of human dignity and worth during this era was significant.  It helped to strengthen the foundation for individual rights in American society, political thought, and law.

Contributed by AHEF and Angela E. Kamrath.

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Source:  Kamrath, Angela E.  The Miracle of America:  The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief.  Second Edition.  Houston, TX:  American Heritage Education Foundation, 2014, 2015.

Related blogs/videos:
1.  The Great Awakening Emerges in Early America – Impacting Religion, Society, Politics
2.  Jonathan Edwards:  Theologian of the Great Awakening
3.  George Whitefield:  Evangelist of the Great Awakening

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Activity:  The Miracle of America High School Teacher Course Guide, Unit 5, Part 1, Activity 5:  Jonathan Edwards Teaches Conscience, Morality, Individual Religious Conversion, Happiness, p. 179, 350.  MS-HS.

Jonathan Edwards Teaches Conscience, Morality, Individual Religious Conversion, Happiness…

Purpose/Objective:  Students learn about Great Awakening theologian Jonathan Edwards and his well-known teachings and writings on Christian belief, life, and doctrine regarding conscience, morality, religious conversion, and happiness which played an important role in educating colonists during the Great Awakening.

Suggested Readings:
1)  Chapter 5 of Miracle of America reference/text.  Students read sections Introduction, 5.1, 5.2, 5.6-5.10.
2)  Related blogs/videos (see above).

Close Reading Activity:
Students break into groups to analyze passages from Edwards that pertain to this section (see attached handout).  Each group will share with the class a summary of the passage, an analysis of its philosophical and religious concepts, and an evaluation of how these ideas played out in society during the Great Awakening.  The teacher can assess students’ grasp of Edwards’ message and its effects on the revival movement and society as a whole.  See the “Jonathan Edwards Excerpts:  Close Reading Activity” handout in the “Supporting Resources” section of the course guide, p. 350.

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To download this whole unit, sign up as an AHEF member (no cost) to access the “resources” page on americanheritage.org.  To order the printed binder format of the course guide with all the units, go to the AHEF bookstore.

Copyright © American Heritage Education Foundation.  All rights reserved.

George Whitefield: Evangelist of the Great Awakening

February 8, 2018
The Founding

George Whitefield was a traveling evangelist during the Great Awakening who used an innovative preaching style and expressed the need for people to be “born again.”  He changed preaching in America as well as helped to unify the colonies prior to the American Revolution.

George Whitefield (1714-1770) was a notable evangelist of the Great Awakening in 1700s America who turned the Christian evangelical revival into an inter-colonial or “national” movement.  Whitefield was a Calvinist Anglican minister in the Church of England who studied at Oxford University with Methodism founders John and Charles Wesley.  Known as the “Grant Itinerant,” he was the first man to travel up and down the east coast in North America, reaching and preaching in all thirteen colonies.  He made his first, most famous continental tour in 1740, from Boston, Massachusetts, to Savannah, Georgia.

Disregarding parish boundaries, Whitefield preached wherever possible.  He spoke in church halls, streets, and marketplaces.  Whitefield possessed rhetorical and dramatic skills and spoke with great power.  He also had a loud, clear voice that miraculously could be heard among hundreds or even thousands of people.  Appealing to all denominations, this “Divine Dramatist,” as he was called, attracted huge crowds.  During his 1740 tour, he addressed large groups daily for over a month.  His 1740 tour, says historian Mark Noll in A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada, was “one of the most remarkable episodes in the whole of American Christianity” and “the key event of the Great Awakening.”  Whitefield made seven continental tours, between 1739 and 1770.  His “trafficking for the Lord,” as he called it, spread revival throughout the colonies.  He became one of the first public figures known throughout the colonies and, Noll says, “the single best-known religious leader in America of that century.”  All churches were influenced by his efforts.

Though an Anglican, Whitefield was not interested in church hierarchy.  He believed that every person—regardless of class, wealth, education, or prestige—could freely choose Jesus Christ.  Whitefield’s preaching centered on inner conversion and the need for New Birth or to be “born again.”  People needed to recognize their sin, repent, and receive salvation by faith in Christ.  The real, “heartfelt conversions Whitefield facilitated, even more than the changes he brought to the practice of religion,” observes Noll, “are why he was such an important figure in his age and why his legacy has remained at the heart of the history of Christianity in America.”

American Founder Benjamin Franklin, also a well-known figure in the colonies, played a key role in helping Whitefield gain publicity in America.  Franklin was intrigued by Whitefield’s message and integrity, and the two men maintained a friendship.  When Whitefield had no place to speak, Franklin helped to build a hall in Philadelphia for the minister and other clergy.  In addition, Franklin, a printer, notably gave Whitefield important coverage in his newspaper, Pennsylvania Gazette, and connections to other publishers.  The two men also created a subscription of the preacher’s messages, with Franklin printing the preacher’s sermons and journals.  Franklin describes the evangelist’s widespread influence during the Awakening: 

Whitefield practiced an innovative approach to evangelism using rhetorical techniques, media, and the marketplace.  While previously ministers read sermons for long periods, Whitefield often memorized his sermons, preached extemporaneously, and spoke with charisma.  He varied his voice and gestured, and he appealed to emotions and the heart.  In addition, he used media like the new colonial newspapers and market advertising to spread the Christian Gospel and to raise publicity for his tours.  His practices changed expectations and demands for church leaders.  Previously church congregations sought leaders with formal training and traditional orthodoxy.  Now they looked for leaders with emotion, enthusiasm, and charisma.

Whitefield’s innovative style and democratic view of evangelism led to a new, modern kind of preaching and a more democratic soul in American life, religion, and politics.  His traveling efforts also helped to make the colonies more interconnected and unified in their beliefs and values.  Due to his tours, Whitefield played a significant role, say scholars, in advancing inter-colonial communication as well as spiritual/religious, geographic, and political unity among the colonies prior to the American Revolution.

Contributed by AHEF and Angela E. Kamrath.

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Source:  Kamrath, Angela E.  The Miracle of America:  The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief.  Second Edition.  Houston, TX:  American Heritage Education Foundation, 2014, 2015.

Related blogs/videos:
1.  The Great Awakening Emerges in Early America – Impacting Religion, Society, Politics
2.  Jonathan Edwards:  Theologian of the Great Awakening

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Activity:  The Miracle of America High School Teacher Course Guide, Unit 5, Part 1, Activity 7:  Whitefield and Revival Go to All the Colonies, p. 180.  MS-HS.

Whitefield and Revival Go to All the Colonies…

Purpose/Objective:  Students learn about George Whitefield and his evangelistic preaching and tours throughout the colonies in mid-1700s America, which played an important role in converting many colonists to Christianity during the Great Awakening.

Suggested Readings:
1)  Chapter 5 of Miracle of America reference/text.  Students read sections Introduction and 5.1, 5.3, and p. 146.
3)  Related blogs/videos (see above).

Research and Visual Charting Activity:
Have students read and research (online and/or in the library) on George Whitefield’s itinerant preaching and travels through the colonies.  Where did he go and when?  His most notable tour took place in 1740.  Have students visually chart, draw, or map Whitefield’s 1740 preaching tour throughout the 13 colonies (and perhaps other tours and the years they took place).  Students may color-code Whitefield’s preaching route(s) and provide some details at each stopping point if desired.  Students may use an existing map provided by the teacher, their original 13 colonies maps which they created in earlier units, or a new revival map they create.  After students have completed their visual chart of the routes, discuss how Whitefield made such a strong impact on the colonies.  What were the effects of his and other revivalists’ itinerant preaching, in homes, churches, and colonies?

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To download this whole unit, sign up as an AHEF member (no cost) to access the “resources” page on americanheritage.org.  To order the printed binder format of the course guide with all the units, go to the AHEF bookstore.

Copyright © American Heritage Education Foundation.  All rights reserved.

Jonathan Edwards: Theologian of the Great Awakening

February 1, 2018
The Founding

Pastor Jonathan Edwards preached a series of sermons on the Bible in early America that influenced revival and led to the Christian conversion of hundreds of colonists.

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) is considered by some historians to be the most important theologian of early America and the Great Awakening and the first major thinker in American history.  A Puritan Congregationalist and Calvinist minister in Massachusetts, Edwards attended Yale University and was president of Princeton University.  In Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1734, Edwards preached a series of sermons on man’s need for repentance and justification by faith alone.  Despite his plain preaching, hundreds of people converted and the whole town was affected.  The revival lasted till the early 1740s and spread to other areas by traveling ministers and word of mouth.  Edwards wrote many influential sermons and works during and in response to the Awakening, providing a theological foundation for the revival.  Edwards influenced traveling pastor George Whitefield and Methodism founder John Wesley, and he became known internationally for his writings.

Edwards played an important role in educating and guiding many early American colonists on the Bible’s teachings.  Edwards’s widely-read sermons and other works presented many foundational Christian themes including God’s sovereignty, the wrath and love of God, original sin, man’s need for repentance and Christ’s salvation, justification by faith, personal conversion, the human will, divine love and happiness, the beauty and virtue of God, equality before God, spiritual transformation, the kingdom of Christ, and the purpose of God’s creation.  Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God was his best-known revival sermon of 1741, depicting the wrath of God and hope of Christ.

Edwards’s teachings, observe historians, became a doctrine of love and an equalizer for all people.  Edwards’s main message and appeal, says historian Paul Johnson in A History of the American People, “is that love is the essence of the religious experience.”  Christianity was a religion in which fallen humanity found God’s love and grace in Christ.  This Christianity was for all people who wished to live redeemed, fulfilling, purposeful lives.

Contributed by AHEF and Angela E. Kamrath.

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Source:  Kamrath, Angela E.  The Miracle of America:  The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief.  Second Edition.  Houston, TX:  American Heritage Education Foundation, 2014, 2015.

Related blogs/videos:
1.  The Great Awakening Emerges in Early America – Impacting Religion, Society, Politics

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Activity:  The Miracle of America High School Teacher Course Guide, Unit 5, Part 1, Activity 4:  Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God, p. 179.  MS-HS.

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God…

Purpose/Objective:  Students learn about theologian Jonathan Edwards and his well-known sermons, teachings, and writings on Christian belief, life, and doctrine regarding man’s sin, God’s judgment, and salvation through Jesus Christ, which played an important role in educating colonists about the Bible during the Great Awakening.

Suggested Readings:
1)  Chapter 5 of Miracle of America reference/text.  Students read sections Introduction and 5.1, 5.2, 5.6-5.10.
2)  Jonathan Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God sermon.
3)  Related blogs/videos (see above).

Close Reading Activity:
Students break into groups to analyze a selected passage from Edward’s sermon (see handout in course guide).  Each group will share with the class a summary of the passage, an analysis of its philosophical and religious concepts, and an evaluation of how such ideas played out in society during the Great Awakening.  The teacher will assess students’ grasp of Edwards’s message and its effects on the revival movement and society as a whole.  See the “Jonathan Edwards Excerpts:  Close Reading Activity” handout in the “Supporting Resources” section of the Miracle of America HS Teacher Course Guide, p. 350.

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To download this whole unit, sign up as an AHEF member (no cost) to access the “resources” page on americanheritage.org.  To order the printed binder format of the course guide with all the units, go to the AHEF bookstore.

Copyright © American Heritage Education Foundation.  All rights reserved.

The Great Awakening Emerges in Early America – Impacting Religion, Society, Politics

January 26, 2018
The Founding

The Great Awakening was a Christian evangelical revival that swept through the American colonies prior to the American Revolution.

In the early 1700s, the thirteen colonies in America, which had formed distinct religious identities, encountered population growth, geographic expansion, and new ideas.  The influx of European immigrants to America expanded settlements beyond existing boundaries and into the frontier where few ministers and churches existed.  Immigrants brought various beliefs and Christian denominations with them, and existing churches and parishes could no longer contain the settlers and their views.  In addition, many colonists became economically independent and prosperous by obtaining free or cheap land and by their labor and industry.  Such events at the time fostered a new attitude, says ethicist H. Richard Niebuhr in The Kingdom of God in America, of “practical individualism.”  These changes made the colonies more religiously diverse and pluralistic, introduced religious competition, and challenged assumptions about state church establishments.  The colonies, says Niebuhr, saw “a new world of emancipated individuals who had become their own political masters to an uncommon degree,” where “absolute individuals had replaced absolute kings and absolute churches.”  It was onto this scene that a Christian evangelical revival arrived that would significantly impact culture, society, and politics in colonial America:  the Great Awakening.

The Great Awakening was an evangelical revival of Christianity that swept through the American colonies in the early to mid 1700s and influenced societal changes in religion and politics.  The revival was called “great,” say historians, because it affected many regions and aspects of colonial life, and it was an “awakening because it led to increased spiritual life and devotion among Americans.  The Awakening, says historian Paul Johnson in A History of the American People, had European roots among German immigrants thankful “for their delivery from European poverty and their happy coming into the Promised Land.”  It was influenced by the European pietist movement that began in German and Prussian principalities and spread to the Netherlands and England at the turn of the 1700s.  It represented the first time non-English-speaking immigrants influenced American intellectual life.

Pietism, a German concept, emphasized a holy life (rather than doctrinal disputes), personal religious experience, self-examination, and individual transformation.  The Awakening had pietistic elements in emphasizing personal religious conversion and a godly life due to an inner change of heart.  Many colonists made personal decisions about their beliefs.  Individuals practiced prayer, Bible reading, and personal exhortation.  The Awakening crossed different theologies and denominations in its teachings.  Some revival views were new takes on Puritan views or new altogether.  The Awakening continued the Protestantism of the 1600s but added a new focus in a changing society.  As God’s sovereign rule was the focus of the first period of Protestantism in Puritan America, the heavenly kingdom of Christ became a dominant idea of the Awakening.  This spiritual kingdom had to do with Christ’s redemption and liberation of man from sin and His reconciliation of believers to God.

Several leaders were prominent in the Great Awakening.  It began largely with Puritan Congregational minister Solomon Stoddard of Northampton, Massachusetts, and German Reformist minister Theodore Frelinghuysen of New Jersey.  Stoddard and Frelinghuysen held revival meetings that sparked many dramatic religious conversions.  Others then preached on being “born again.”  Two key “intercolonial” leaders of the Awakening were Puritan theologian Jonathan Edwards and Anglican pastor George Whitefield.

Cutting across denominational lines, the Awakening spread through rural areas and towns in all regions.  During the peak of revival in the 1740s, churches grew daily.  In New England, 25,000 to 50,000 people joined churches out of a population of 300,000, with 3 out of 4 colonists likely affected.

The Great Awakening moved pre-revolutionary colonists toward greater regard for human dignity, equality, and individual rights; religious pluralism and religious tolerance; a democratic and independent spirit; and a shared identity rooted in Bible-based beliefs and values.

Contributed by AHEF and Angela E. Kamrath.

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Source:  Kamrath, Angela E.  The Miracle of America:  The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief.  Second Edition.  Houston, TX:  American Heritage Education Foundation, 2014, 2015.

Related blogs/videos:
1. Why did John Winthrop and the Puritans come to America?
2. How were the American Puritans like the Bible’s Israelites?
3. Why did the Puritans in America favor Rule of Law?
4. What were the challenges in the early Puritan colonies?
5. What were the first experiments in freedom of belief and religious tolerance in America?
6. Roger Williams and His Quest for Religious Purity and Founding of Rhode Island
7. Early Americans supported Religious Tolerance based on God as Judge of Conscience
8. Roger Williams:  First Call for Separation between Church and State in America – Know why?
9. The Religious Landscape of the Thirteen Colonies in the Early 1700s

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Activity:  The Miracle of America High School Teacher Course Guide, Unit 5, Part 1, Activity 3:  Personal Connection to Spiritual Revival, p. 178-179.  MS-HS.

Personal Connection to Spiritual Revival…

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To download this whole unit, sign up as an AHEF member (no cost) to access the “resources” page on americanheritage.org.  To order the printed binder format of the course guide with all the units, go to the AHEF bookstore.

Copyright © American Heritage Education Foundation.  All rights reserved.

The Religious Landscape of the Thirteen Colonies in the Early 1700s

January 19, 2018
The Founding

The Original Thirteen Colonies in America in the Early 1700s

By 1732, original thirteen colonies had formed in North America:  Virginia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Georgia.

The Puritans’ Congregational Church was the established state church in New England.  The Anglican Church was the established state church in the southern colonies.  The tolerant middle colonies had a Christian pluralism, though often unharmonious, of various Christian denominations.

Acceptance of religious tolerance and freedom of belief grew and spread in the colonies in the 1700s due in part to the Bible-based arguments of early tolerance supporters including Roger Williams, William Penn, and John Locke and to the formation of the more tolerant colonies of Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and Delaware.  The Great Awakening of the 1740s soon after also greatly encouraged individual freedom of belief (and will be discussed in the next blog series).  Though most colonists in the early 1700s—about 85% of 500,000 inhabitants in North America—lived in colonies with an official state church (the Congregational or Anglican Church), state churches gradually granted more tolerance for other denominations.

Many colonists including future Founders Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and John Adams began to view freedom of belief as more important than religious conformity.  They also began to see politics differently.  As religious tolerance became more widespread, observes author and journalist Jon Meacham in American Gospel, so did the support and acceptance of more democratic ideas.  “For people who chose their own spiritual path,” Meacham writes, “wondered why they could not choose their own political path as well.”

Indeed, the American colonies became increasingly tolerant and democratic.  Rooted in Bible-based, Judeo-Christian thought by its earliest supporters in America, the principles of freedom of belief, religious tolerance, and separation of church and civil government would later become more widely accepted and practiced principles in American thought and law.  Religious freedom for all and separation of church and state would eventually be successfully implemented, secured, and fully realized by the American Founders who wrote the U. S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Contributed by AHEF and Angela E. Kamrath.

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Related Blogs/Videos:
1.  What were the Challenges in the Early Puritan colonies?
2. What were the first experiments in freedom of belief and religious tolerance in America?
3.  Roger Williams and His Quest for Religious Purity and Founding of Rhode Island
4.  William Penn and His “Holy Experiment” in Religious Tolerance, the Colony of Pennsylvania
5.  Philosopher John Locke and His support for Religious Tolerance
6. Early Americans supported Religious Tolerance based on God as Judge of Conscience
7.  Early Americans Argued Religious Persecution was contrary to the Teachings of Christ
8.  Early Americans argued Religious Intolerance opposes the Order of Nature
9.  Early Americans believed Religious Coercion opposes Reason
10. Early Americans supported Religious Tolerance within Civil Peace and Order
11. Roger Williams:  First Call for Separation between Church and State in America – Know why?

Source:  Kamrath, Angela E.  The Miracle of America:  The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief.  Second Edition.  Houston, TX:  American Heritage Education Foundation, 2014, 2015.

Additional Reading/Handout:  Why Religious Freedom Became an Unalienable Right & First Freedom in America by Angela E. Kamrath, American Heritage Education Foundation.  Paper available to download from member resources, americanheritage.org.

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Activity:  The Miracle of America High School Teacher Course Guide, Unit 4, Part 2, Activity 10:  Mapping Out the American Colonies:  The 13 Original Colonies, p. 163-164.  MS-HS.

Mapping Out the American Colonies:  The 13 Original Colonies….

Purpose/Objective:  Students learn about the founding, characteristics, and geography of the 13 original colonies in America.

Suggested Readings:
1) Chapter 4 of Miracle of America sourcebook/text.  Students read sections Introduction, 4.2, 4.4, 4.5, 4.16-4.19, 4.22, p. 124.
2) Paper/handout titled Why Religious Freedom Became an Unalienable Right & First Freedom in America by Angela E. Kamrath (AHEF).  Paper available to download from member resources, americanheritage.org.
3) Related Blogs/Videos:
a.  What were the Challenges in the Early Puritan colonies?
b. What were the first experiments in freedom of belief and religious tolerance in America?
c.  Roger Williams and His Quest for Religious Purity and Founding of Rhode Island
d.  William Penn and His “Holy Experiment” in Religious Tolerance, the Colony of Pennsylvania
e.  Philosopher John Locke and His support for Religious Tolerance
f. Early Americans supported Religious Tolerance based on God as Judge of Conscience
g.  Early Americans Argued Religious Persecution was contrary to the Teachings of Christ
h.  Early Americans argued Religious Intolerance opposes the Order of Nature
i.  Early Americans believed Religious Coercion opposes Reason
j.  Early Americans supported Religious Tolerance within Civil Peace and Order
k.  Roger Williams:  First Call for Separation between Church and State in America – Know why?
4) Roger Williams, The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for the Cause of Conscience, 1644.
6) William Penn, A Great Case of Liberty of Conscience Debated and Defended by the Authority of Reason, Scripture, and Antiquity, 1670.
7) John Locke, Letters Concerning Toleration, 1689, 1690, 1692.

Map Activity and Timeline:
After students do assigned reading and additional research on the 13 original colonies in the 1600s and 1700s, have students complete maps (continued from Unit 3, Part 2) of the 13 colonies in the early 1700s, just prior to the Great Awakening and American Revolution.  Students may indicate information about each colony’s founding and characteristics (including its religious affiliation, state church establishment, level of religious tolerance, etc).  Students may use colors or color-coding on their maps.  Students might include colony information on any accompanying, color-coded descriptive timeline that appears/hangs next to/below the map.  Students consider how early Americans’ ideas, beliefs, arguments, and actions influenced the formation of these colonies.  Teachers should inform students of information expected to appear on the completed maps and timelines.  Students may present their maps and timelines in class.  Students or small groups may be assigned to research and present to the class some of the history and religious/tolerance/state church influences in a particular colony.

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To download this whole unit, sign up as an AHEF member (no cost) to access the “resources” page on americanheritage.org.  To order the printed binder format of the course guide with all the units, go to the AHEF bookstore.

Copyright © American Heritage Education Foundation.  All rights reserved.

Roger Williams: First Call for Separation of Church and State in America – Know why?

January 12, 2018
The Founding

The separation between church and state that Americans know and enjoy in the United States today did not always exist in the early American colonies, much less in world history.  When the Pilgrims and Puritans migrated to America from England in the early 1600s, they came for religious freedom.  Yet when the Puritans set up their colony of Massachusetts, they followed (and struggled with) the combined state-church model which they had known historically for centuries in Europe.  For it was all they knew and had seen in practice.

When challenges of religious dissent and disagreement later arose in the American colonies, and as religious persecution persisted in Europe, some called for greater separation between church and civil government as a means for greater religious freedom.  The idea of separation had been broached by reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin in the 1500s during the Protestant Reformation, but the idea was not taken seriously or successfully practiced at that time.  This revolutionary idea, though, was later realized in America beginning with a man named Roger Williams.

Roger Williams, a Puritan pastor in Massachusetts, was an early proponent of religious tolerance in America in the mid-1600s.  He was the first American to really advocate for practical separation between church and civil state.  Know why?  To Williams, the Puritans in America did not adequately purify their colonial churches because they continued the old European combined state-church system.  He thought greater purity could be achieved by administratively separating the two institutions.  For example, the state, he thought, should not financially support the church or mandate/regulate religion.  Such separation would prevent corruption in the church and provide freedom of belief.  Williams supported this view from Isaiah 5:1-7, which describes God’s people as a “vineyard,” a pure garden enclosed from the wilderness of the world.

Williams wrote of a “wall of separation” to describe the church’s proper enclosure from the world.  Alluding to Isaiah 5 in a reply letter to Pastor John Cotton which appears in Williams’s 1644 The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience Discussed and Mr. Cotton’s Letter Examined and Answered, Williams observes [bold text mine], 

Such a wall exists, Williams asserts, to protect the church from the world, including the civil government, and corruption.  Civil government, he believed, should regulate only civil offenses, not religious or spiritual matters.  Williams thus argued that churches and congregations should separate from what were thought to be impure state churches.   This new arrangement would, ultimately, allow for more religious freedom.

Williams was banished from the colony of Massachusetts in 1635 for his dissident views.  Yet his revolutionary view of separation took root and later became more widely accepted after he founded the tolerant colony of Rhode Island, in 1643, which had no state church.  Williams’s ideas, advocacy, and actions greatly influenced the future direction of the American colonies and, ultimately, the new nation.  His ideas also influenced British philosopher John Locke who was widely read by the American Founders.  In sum, Williams was a key figure who helped to end religious persecution and to lay the groundwork for the religious freedom that we citizens enjoy today in the United States.

Contributed by AHEF and Angela E. Kamrath.

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Source:  Kamrath, Angela E.  The Miracle of America:  The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief.  Second Edition.  Houston, TX:  American Heritage Education Foundation; Longwood, FL:  Xulon, 2014, 2015.

Related Blogs/Videos:
1.  What were the Challenges in the Early Puritan colonies?
2.  Roger Williams and His Quest for Religious Purity
3. Early Americans supported Religious Tolerance based on God as Judge of Conscience
4. What were the first experiments in freedom of belief and religious tolerance in America?

Additional Reading/Handout:  Why Religious Freedom Became an Unalienable Right & First Freedom in America by Angela E. Kamrath, American Heritage Education Foundation.  Paper available to download from member resources, americanheritage.org.

—–

Activity:  The Miracle of America High School Teacher Course Guide, Unit 4, Part 2, Activity 5:  Williams and Cotton Debate Separation of Church and State, p. 161-162, 163-164, 320-321.  MS-HS.

Williams and Cotton Debate Separation of Church and State… 

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To download this whole unit, sign up as an AHEF member (no cost) to access the “resources” page on americanheritage.org.  To order the printed binder format of the course guide with all the units, go to the AHEF bookstore.

Copyright © American Heritage Education Foundation.  All rights reserved.

Early Americans supported Religious Tolerance within Civil Peace and Order

January 4, 2018
The Founding

St. Paul the Apostle by Claude Vignon (1593-1670). Paul taught in Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”

Did you know that early Americans supported religious tolerance within certain limits?  What were those limits?  American colonizers who supported tolerance, like Roger Williams of Rhode Island and William Penn of Pennsylvania, believed that freedom of belief should be upheld within the limits of civil peace and order.  They did not support tolerance of religious practices that violated the rights of others or the foundation of free, civil society.

Though Williams was an early religious dissenter who was banished from the colony of Massachusetts in the 1600s due to his religious views, he valued the Bible-based virtue of peace in society.  In support of civil peace, Williams looked to Romans 12:18 where the Apostle Paul says to fellow Christians, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”  Williams remarked in his 1644 essay in defense of religious tolerance, The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for the Cause of Conscience, “There is a possibility of keeping sweet peace in most cases, and if it is possible, it is the express command of God that peace be kept.”  Civility and religion, Williams believed, could flourish together in a tolerant community.

Further, a person should abide by the just civil laws of their community, Penn and Williams asserted, when practicing religion.  Penn explained in his 1670 essay, A Great Case of Liberty of Conscience Debated and Defended by the Authority of Reason, Scripture, and Antiquity, “We plead only for such a liberty as preserves the nation in peace, trade, and commerce and would not exempt any man from keeping those excellent laws that tend to sober, just, and industrious living.”  One should practice religion, Williams similarly affirmed, “without breach of the civil or city peace.”

To be sure, disruptions are at times unavoidable, these colonizers knew, when it comes to religious intolerance or oppression.  Though not an intentional cause of disruption, Christians, for example, might become, Williams saw,

In sum, early proponents of religious tolerance in America drew the line at peace and order and the rights of others in society.  A person does not have the right to practice his or her religious beliefs if such beliefs are oppressive, violent, or violative toward others.  Such limits to tolerance are necessary in any free, just society.

Contributed by AHEF and Angela E. Kamrath.

—–

Related Blogs:
1.  What were the first experiments in freedom of belief and religious tolerance in America?
2.  Early Americans supported Religious Tolerance based on God as Judge of Conscience
3.  Early Americans opposed Religious Persecution as contrary to the Biblical Teachings of Christ
4.  Early Americans argued Religious Coercion opposes Order of Nature
5.  Early Americans Believed Religious Coercion Opposes Reason

Source:  Kamrath, Angela E.  The Miracle of America:  The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief.  Second Edition.  Houston, TX:  American Heritage Education Foundation, 2014, 2015.

Additional Reading/Handout:  Why Religious Freedom Became an Unalienable Right & First Freedom in America by Angela E. Kamrath, American Heritage Education Foundation.  Paper available to download from member resources, americanheritage.org.

—–

Activity:  The Miracle of America High School Teacher Course Guide, Unit 4, Part 1, Activity 6:  Thinking About Freedom of Conscience and Religion, p. 147.  MS-HS.

Thinking About Freedom of Conscience and Religion… 

Purpose/Objective:  Students learn about the arguments, motives, and actions of Roger Williams (who founded Rhode Island), William Penn (who founded Pennsylvania), and British philosopher John Locke (who wrote the constitution for Carolina).

Suggested Readings:
1) Chapter 4 of Miracle of America sourcebook/text.  Students read sections Introduction to 4.15.
2) Paper/handout titled Why Religious Freedom Became an Unalienable Right & First Freedom in America by Angela E. Kamrath (AHEF).  Paper available to download from member resources, americanheritage.org.
3) Related Blogs:
a. What were the first experiments in freedom of belief and religious tolerance in America?
b. Early Americans supported Religious Tolerance Based on God as Judge of Conscience
c. Early Americans opposed Religious Persecution as Contrary to the Biblical Teachings of Christ
d. Early Americans argued Religious Coercion opposes Order of Nature
e. Early American believed Religious Coercion opposes Reason
4) Roger Williams, The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for the Cause of Conscience, 1644.
5) William Penn, A Great Case of Liberty of Conscience Debated and Defended by the Authority of Reason, Scripture, and Antiquity, 1670.
6) John Locke, Letters Concerning Toleration, 1689, 1690.

Activity:  Short Paragraph Test.  Students think about, write on, discuss in small groups/whole class (with chairs in a circle, if possible) the questions below.  In writing on these questions, students may use more informal journaling/reflective writing.  Students may use this activity or parts of it as test preparation for a short-answer test on the same questions:

1.  How did the experiences of Williams and Penn influence your own views about religious tolerance and freedom of conscience?
2.  What main points from the Bible and other sources were used by Williams, Penn, and Locke to argue against religious coercion and in support of religious tolerance and freedom of conscience?
3.  Why is it important for people to have freedom of conscience and to be tolerant toward other people’s religions?

(These and other questions are also found in chapter 4 of Miracle of America text, p. 125.)  Discussion may follow.

—–

To download this whole unit, sign up as an AHEF member (no cost) to access the “resources” page on americanheritage.org.  To order the printed binder format of the course guide with all the units, go to the AHEF bookstore.

Copyright © American Heritage Education Foundation.  All rights reserved.

Early Americans Believed Religious Coercion Opposes Reason

December 21, 2017
The Founding

Saint Paul Delivering the Areopagus Sermon in Athens by Raphael, 1515.  Paul reasoned with the pagan people in order to present and defend the Christian Gospel.

Going against religious persecution in Europe and the world, early Americans Roger Williams of Rhode Island and William Penn of Pennsylvania, along with British philosopher John Locke, started the move toward religious tolerance in the American colonies.  They not only formed tolerant colonies, but they laid out extensive Bible-based arguments in favor of religious tolerance.  One of their main arguments for tolerance, which people of all religious beliefs could understand, was that religious coercion opposes reason.

Firstly, religious coercion imposes unjustified penalties.  Since faith cannot be ascertained by concrete evidence, it cannot be fairly judged with earthly punishments.  In his 1670 essay defending religious freedom, A Great Case of Liberty of Conscience Debated and Defended by the Authority of Reason, Scripture, and Antiquity, Penn argued that since fallible man cannot be certain of religious truth outside of faith, coercion wrongly “imposes upon an uncertain faith with certain penalties.”

Secondly, coercion is an irrational, ineffective method to address intellectual or spiritual matters.  It cannot change or convince a person’s heart or mind.  Reformer Martin Luther had asked of the authorities of his day, “Why then would they constrain people to believe from the heart, when they see that it is impossible?”  In his 1644 essay, The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for the Cause of Conscience, Williams similarly saw that coercion only affects man’s outward behavior:  “The sword may make, as the Lord complained in Isaiah 10, a whole nation of hypocrites.”  Locke likewise observed in his 1689 Letter Concerning Toleration that force does not transform a person.  He writes, 

Only intellectual or spiritual means, Williams and Locke pointed out, can convince or persuade a person in intellectual or spiritual matters.

Thirdly, truth can prevail amidst other ideas.  Truth does not need man’s coercion, for it holds its own qualities and strength.  Locke made this argument in his 1690 Second Letter Concerning Toleration, stating, “The inventions of men in religion need the force and helps of men to support them.  A religion that is of God needs not the assistance of human authority to make it prevail.”

Williams, Penn, and Locke’s reasonable arguments supporting religious freedom would later be taken up by many American Founders including James Madison and Benjamin Franklin.  Some of these arguments would be referenced by the Founders in their shaping of various new state laws regarding religion freedom and of the First Amendment of the United States.

Contributed by AHEF and Angela E. Kamrath.

—–

Related Blogs:
1.  What were the first experiments in freedom of belief and religious tolerance in America?
2.  Early Americans supported Religious Tolerance based on God as Judge of Conscience
3.  Early Americans opposed Religious Persecution as contrary to the Biblical Teachings of Christ
4.  Early Americans argued that Religious Coercion opposes the Order of Nature

Source:  Kamrath, Angela E.  The Miracle of America:  The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief.  Second Edition.  Houston, TX:  American Heritage Education Foundation, 2014, 2015.

Additional Reading/Handout:  Why Religious Freedom Became an Unalienable Right & First Freedom in America by Angela E. Kamrath, American Heritage Education Foundation.  Paper available to download from member resources, americanheritage.org.

—–

Activity:  The Miracle of America High School Teacher Course Guide, Unit 4, Part 1, Activity 6:  Thinking About Freedom of Conscience and Religion, p. 147.  MS-HS.

Thinking About Freedom of Conscience and Religion… 

Purpose/Objective:  Students learn about the arguments, motives, and actions of Roger Williams (who founded Rhode Island), William Penn (who founded Pennsylvania), and British philosopher John Locke (who wrote the constitution for Carolina).

Suggested Readings:
1) Chapter 4 of Miracle of America sourcebook/text.  Students read sections Introduction to 4.15.
2) Paper/handout titled Why Religious Freedom Became an Unalienable Right & First Freedom in America by Angela E. Kamrath (AHEF).  Paper available to download from member resources, americanheritage.org.
3) Related Blogs:
a. What were the first experiments in freedom of belief and religious tolerance in America?
b. Early Americans Supported Religious Tolerance Based on God as Judge of Conscience
c. Early Americans Opposed Religious Persecution as Contrary to the Biblical Teachings of Christ
d. Early Americans argued that Religious Coercion opposes the Order of Nature
4) Roger Williams, The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for the Cause of Conscience, 1644.
5) William Penn, A Great Case of Liberty of Conscience Debated and Defended by the Authority of Reason, Scripture, and Antiquity, 1670.
6) John Locke, Letters Concerning Toleration, 1689, 1690.

Activity:  Short Paragraph Test.  Students think about, write on, discuss in small groups/whole class (with chairs in a circle, if possible) the questions below.  In writing on these questions, students may use more informal journaling/reflective writing.  Students may use this activity or parts of it as test preparation for a short-answer test on the same questions:

1.  How did the experiences of Williams and Penn influence your own views about religious tolerance and freedom of conscience?
2.  What main points from the Bible and other sources were used by Williams, Penn, and Locke to argue against religious coercion and in support of religious tolerance and freedom of conscience?
3.  Why is it important for people to have freedom of conscience and to be tolerant toward other people’s religions?

(These and other questions are also found in chapter 4 of Miracle of America text, p. 125.)  Discussion may follow.

—–

To download this whole unit, sign up as an AHEF member (no cost) to access the “resources” page on americanheritage.org.  To order the printed binder format of the course guide with all the units, go to the AHEF bookstore.

Copyright © American Heritage Education Foundation.  All rights reserved.

Early Americans argued Religious Coercion Opposes Order of Nature

December 14, 2017
The Founding

Against the backdrop of religious persecution in England and Europe, British Quaker William Penn, who would later become the founder of the tolerant colony of Pennsylvania in 1681, wrote his revealing 1670 essay in defense of freedom of belief, A Great Case of Liberty of Conscience Debated and Defended by the Authority of Reason, Scripture, and Antiquity.  His position would later be reflected in the ideas and writings of John Locke and of the American Founders in support of religious freedom in the United States.  One of Penn’s specific arguments was that religious coercion is contrary to the order of nature.

The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo, c1512

Religious coercion, Penn argued, opposes the order of nature because it disregards man’s natural, God-given faculties of intellect and choice.  It also destroys in persecutors the basic affinity that a person normally, naturally possesses for another human being.  Penn explains: 

What is more, religious coercion denies mankind’s spiritual nature and his capacity for faith and relationship with God.  Each human being possesses the ability and privilege to relate with God, his or her Creator, “that instinct of a Deity which is so natural to him that he can be no more without it than he can be without the most essential part of himself.”  Coercion thus interferes in man’s relationship with God.

For these reasons, Penn concluded that religious coercion is contrary to the natural order of creation.

Contributed by AHEF and Angela E. Kamrath.

—–

Related Blogs:
1.  What were the first experiments in freedom of belief and religious tolerance in America?
2.  Early Americans Supported Religious Tolerance Based on God as Judge of Conscience
3.  Early Americans Opposed Religious Persecution as Contrary to the Biblical Teachings of Christ

Source:  Kamrath, Angela E.  The Miracle of America:  The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief.  Second Edition.  Houston, TX:  American Heritage Education Foundation, 2014, 2015.

Additional Reading/Handout:  Why Religious Freedom Became an Unalienable Right & First Freedom in America by Angela E. Kamrath, American Heritage Education Foundation.  Paper available to download from member resources, americanheritage.org.

—–

Activity:  The Miracle of America High School Teacher Course Guide, Unit 4, Part 1, Activity 3:  The Importance of Religious Freedom in Human Life, p. 146-7.  MS-HS.

The Importance of Religious Freedom in Human Life… 

Purpose/Objective:  Students consider the cultural and geographic factors that affect one’s philosophical/religious views, reflect on the importance of religious freedom in human life and in their own lives, and learn why religious oppression is a cause for conflict and/or migration.

Suggested Readings:
1) Chapter 4 of Miracle of America sourcebook/text.  Students read sections Introduction, 4.1, 4.9, 4.10.
2) Paper/handout titled Why Religious Freedom Became an Unalienable Right & First Freedom in America by Angela E. Kamrath (AHEF).  Paper available to download from member resources, americanheritage.org.
3) Related Blogs:
a. What were the first experiments in freedom of belief and religious tolerance in America?
b. Early Americans Supported Religious Tolerance Based on God as Judge of Conscience
c.  Early Americans Opposed Religious Persecution as Contrary to the Biblical Teachings of Christ
5) William Penn, A Great Case of Liberty of Conscience Debated and Defended by the Authority of Reason, Scripture, and Antiquity, 1670.

Activity:  Journal/Reflection Writing.  Students journal/reflect on the questions below:

1.  In what ways, if at all, might cultural, social, historical, and geographic factors relate to one’s philosophical/religious views?  In what ways, if any, might they not relate?
2.  Why do you think religious freedom is so important to people, to human life?  Students consider the ways a person’s philosophical/religious beliefs and worldview affect his or her life purpose/meaning (raison d’etre), lifestyle, choices, decisions, and view of afterlife or eternal destiny.  Students may think/write about their own worldview, beliefs, values, and experiences and how they have benefited from religious freedom.
3.  Why is religious intolerance or oppression a significant cause for conflict and migration/immigration?  Think of some historical and modern examples.  Students may also think/write about what life would be like without religious freedom.

Discussion may follow.

—–

To download this whole unit, sign up as an AHEF member (no cost) to access the “resources” page on americanheritage.org.  To order the printed binder format of the course guide with all the units, go to the AHEF bookstore.

Copyright © American Heritage Education Foundation.  All rights reserved.

Early Americans Opposed Religious Persecution as Contrary to the Biblical Teachings of Christ

December 7, 2017
The Founding

In the 1600s, notable individuals who supported tolerant colonies in America including Roger Williams (founder of Rhode Island) and William Penn (founder of Pennsylvania) as well as British philosopher John Locke (drafter of Carolina’s constitution) laid out enlightening arguments against religious persecution and intolerance that pointed the future American Founders away from Europe’s and the world’s dark history of religious persecution and toward religious freedom.  In addition to their primary argument that God is ruler of man’s conscience/belief (see related blogs below), Williams, Penn, and Locke argued that religious persecution is contrary to the biblical teachings and example of Christ and the New Testament.

The Sermon on the Mount by Carl Bloch, 1877.

For one, Christ seeks to save, not destroy, human lives.  For example, in Luke 9:54-55, when Jesus’ disciples James and John saw that the Samaritans did not receive Jesus, they asked Jesus, …

Further, religious persecution is contrary to love and the character of Christ.  Locke viewed love or charity as a Christian trait essential to the argument for religious tolerance.  Love is described by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, Ephesians 4:1-3, and Colossians 3:12-14 as gentle, meek, benevolent, forbearing, and long-suffering.  These verses speak of “bearing with one another in love.”  In his 1689 Letter Concerning Toleration which was influential in both England and America, Locke thus observes, “That any man should think it fit to cause another man, whose salvation he heartily desires, to expire in torments, and even in an unconverted state, would seem very strange to me and I think to any other also.  But nobody, surely, will ever believe that such carriage can proceed from charity, love, or goodwill.”

The Souls Under the Altar. Depicting Revelation 6:9.

The New Testament also notably denounces religious persecution based on the prayer of God’s martyrs.  In Revelation 6:9, the Apostle John describes his heavenly vision of God’s martyrs throughout history who await God’s judgment:  “I [John] saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held.  And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’”  Acknowledging God’s future judgment for the persecutors of those who stood “against the worship of the states and times,” Williams affirms that the “doctrine of persecution for cause of conscience is proven guilty of all the blood of the souls crying for vengeance under the altar.”

Williams, Penn, and Locke laid bare, in sum, that the Christian teachings in the New Testament do not support religious persecution or intolerance against peaceable religious (or non-religious) beliefs and practices.  Accordingly, in his 1692 Third Letter Concerning Toleration, Locke praises “those generous principles of the Gospel, which so much recommend and inculcate universal charity and a freedom from the inventions and impositions of men in the things of God.”  With their Bible-based assertions against religious oppression along with their initiative to create tolerant colonies, these revolutionary movers laid the groundwork for the principle and practice of religious freedom in the future United States of America.

Contributed by AHEF and Angela E. Kamrath.

—–

Related Blogs:
1.  What were the first experiments in freedom of belief and religious tolerance in America?
2.  Early Americans Supported Religious Tolerance Based on God as Judge of Conscience

Source:  Kamrath, Angela E.  The Miracle of America:  The Influence of the Bible on the Founding History and Principles of the United States of America for a People of Every Belief.  Second Edition.  Houston, TX:  American Heritage Education Foundation, 2014, 2015.

Additional Reading/Handout:  Why Religious Freedom Became an Unalienable Right & First Freedom in America by Angela E. Kamrath, American Heritage Education Foundation.  Paper available to download from member resources, americanheritage.org.

—–

Activity:  The Miracle of America High School Teacher Course Guide, Unit 4, Part 1, Activity 3:  The Importance of Religious Freedom in Human Life, p. 146-7.  MS-HS.

The Importance of Religious Freedom in Human Life… 

Purpose/Objective:  Students consider the cultural and geographic factors that affect one’s philosophical/religious views, reflect on the importance of religious freedom in human life and in their own lives, and learn why religious oppression is a cause for conflict and/or migration.

Suggested Readings:
1) Chapter 4 of Miracle of America sourcebook/text.  Students read sections Introduction, 4.1, 4.9, 4.10.
2) Paper/handout titled Why Religious Freedom Became an Unalienable Right & First Freedom in America by Angela E. Kamrath (AHEF).  Paper available to download from member resources, americanheritage.org.
3) Related Blogs:
a. What were the first experiments in freedom of belief and religious tolerance in America?
b. Early Americans Supported Religious Tolerance Based on God as Judge of Conscience
4) Roger Williams, The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for the Cause of Conscience, 1644.
5) William Penn, A Great Case of Liberty of Conscience Debated and Defended by the Authority of Reason, Scripture, and Antiquity, 1670.
6) John Locke, Letter Concerning Toleration, 1689.

Activity:  Journal/Reflection Writing.  Students journal/reflect on the questions below:

1.  In what ways, if at all, might cultural, social, historical, and geographic factors relate to one’s philosophical/religious views?  In what ways, if any, might they not relate?
2.  Why do you think religious freedom is so important to people, to human life?  Students consider the ways a person’s philosophical/religious beliefs and worldview affect his or her life purpose/meaning (raison d’etre), lifestyle, choices, decisions, and view of afterlife or eternal destiny.  Students may think/write about their own worldview, beliefs, values, and experiences and how they have benefited from religious freedom.
3.  Why is religious intolerance or oppression a significant cause for conflict and migration/immigration?  Think of some historical and modern examples.  Students may also think/write about what life would be like without religious freedom.

Discussion may follow.

—–

To download this whole unit, sign up as an AHEF member (no cost) to access the “resources” page on americanheritage.org.  To order the printed binder format of the course guide with all the units, go to the AHEF bookstore.

Copyright © American Heritage Education Foundation.  All rights reserved.

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