Who is Responsible for Religious Liberty In America?

Just recently in my Baptist Heritage class, I learned an interesting fact regarding who was responsible for religious liberty in America. Specifically, who was responsible for the establishment of the Bill of Rights and a separation of church and state. Here is what one author has to say:

In tracing the emergence of religious liberty in America, Joseph Dawson concluded, “If the researchers of the world were to be asked who was most responsible for the American guarantee for religious liberty, their prompt reply would be ‘James Madison.'” However, Dawson continued, “If James Madison might answer, he would as quickly reply, ‘John Leland and the Baptists.'” If that sounds too partisan, overlooking the role of other denominations, it does focus upon Baptists’ great contribution in winning religious liberty in America. Baptists provided many of the ideas undergirding religious liberty, and they spearheaded the public agitation which led to the Bill of Rights [1].

Without my Baptist Heritage class, I would have never known that Baptists were intimately tied to the fight for the Bill of Rights. I am grateful for their work as well as the sacrifice and persecution those men faced in working toward Religious Liberty in America.

Resource

[1] Leon McBeth, The Baptist Heritage, 283.

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