Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Anglican Church of State, Baptists Persecutions

Excerpt from Chapter 3 of The Sword of the Lord. Baptists were an oppressed and disreputable religious community in American before the Revolution. They were attacked, beaten, jailed, and ostracized for the offense of creating their own churches outside the established Church of England. Baptists therefore, led the drive to enshrine the separation of church and state in the new United States Constitution. The principle Baptists defended was intended to prevent the state from privileging one religious institution or one set of religious beliefs and practices over another, though not to prevent individuals from bringing their private religion and principles into the public sphere. ( read more at Beating Up Baptists | Andrew Himes )

I've been following Andrew Himes blog as he promotes his recently released book. Andrew, Seattle based, is known to me from my earlier period of activism as a military family speaking out on Iraq War. Andrew did far more good than I could ever have done in introducing non-threatening educational curriculum in Seattle region schools permitting dialogue amongst students on the war issue; his work in creating forum for artistic expression by soldiers, veterans, and their families towards the healing work that will be an ongoing consequence of this and previous wars. I have lost touch with Andrew in recent years, and it is encouraging to learn he has gone on to work on publishing his book to once again find healing ground in which to deal with controversial issue in non-confrontational manner.

Of interest to me in this particular post are several factors. In my studies of the culture and religion of Mormonism, I encountered in another forum blog the use of the word Restoration in connection with Baptists. I followed the linkage which took me to Restoration based religions at the time of the Second Great Awakening formation religions of the 19th century. Which led me to the Campbellites (Alexander and Thomas Campbell) which led me to the Disciples of Christ, which led me to Sidney Rigdon and Parley P. Pratt, adherants of the Campbellite Church of Christ movement, who led a percentage of the congregants to the newly forming Mormon religion of Joseph Smith. 

 With both my husband and myself more recently coming from being confirmed in the Episcopal (Anglican) Church which was closest thing I have to a familiar church of my childhood (my mother's church affiliation) to his returning to his root church (Mormon, officially LDS) and my joining the church of his faith, the mention of the Anglican Church as being the Church of State was of interest to me. I had heard this same mention recently for the first time when we watched the PBS documentary, God in America, that aired October 2010. That the Baptists were persecuted in acts of violence is not something I knew. Incorrectly or otherwise, I could posit the evolution of Anglican to the Great Awakening (first and second) religion formations, to include Baptists, Methodists, Calvinists, Presbyterians, revivalists movements to offshoots from these religious belief sets to include Campellites to Mormonism as perhaps distant or close cousins one to another.

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