Birth of Protestant Theologian Roger Williams

Birth of Protestant Theologian Roger Williams

Roger Williams

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Roger Williams is born in London, England. A Protestant theologian, he will be regarded as a troublemaker by many his contemporaries because of his strong, uncompromising defense of religious freedom and the separation of church and state.

Roger Williams will, in fact, be one of the first in America to articulate the very idea of separating religious from civil authority, an idea that contradicts the American tendency to have official, state supported churches. This will be a primary reason why so many of his contemporaries will be unhappy with him, but also why people later on will look up to him.

Williams will be unusually principled in his defense of individual religious liberty because, even though he vehemently opposes the religious views of groups like the Quakers, he never accepts the legitimacy of the government repressing them and denying them the right to believe or practice religion differently.

Williams' belief in the importance of religious liberty will inspire him to found the colony of Providence Plantation, a haven for religious minorities who are persecuted elsewhere in the American colonies.

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