Examining religion and public life
Excerpt of "Mirage of Uniformity"
By Nathan C. Walker
The history of religious freedom in the Western world teaches us that civilizations have and continue to chase the mirage of uniformity. A mirage is an optical illusion that can result in the phenomenon that there is something there that is not. Uniformity in religion is the mirage, leading generations into the desert, longing to be quenched by the water of true freedom.
True freedom, as we explored in last week's lecture, is not a result of coercion, oppression, exclusion, or violence. True freedom in religion, is when individuals are free to exercise their religion, so long as their practices do not infringe on the rights of others.
Today’s lecture consists of a series of stories that demonstrate how hard and how long it took for America to begin to embrace such wisdom. My intention is to offer you excerpts from my research, paying particular attention to the lessons I learned when reading about the founding of four American colonies: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.