Roger Williams

Roger Williams was one of the most well known English Protestant Theologians of his time. He grew up in Anglican England and had a change of faith after attending Cambridge, becoming a Puritan. Thus, he went against the norms of society by defying the Anglican church and expressing his despise towards it. Williams moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where he preached his beliefs of Separatism, freedom of religion, and separation of church in state. The following passage highlights his views on the freedom of religion:

“It hath fallen out sometimes, that both Papists and Protestants, Jews and Turks, may be embarked in one ship; upon which supposal I affirm, that all liberty of conscience, that ever I pleaded for, turns upon these two hinges—that none of the Papists, Protestants, Jews, or Turks be forced to come to the ship’s prayersor worship, nor compelled from their own prater or worship, if they practice any.” –A Letter to the Town of Providence, Roger Williams.

Here, Roger uses a ship to symbolize the society at the time. He believes that all different religions should be able to live in one society without disagreement or segregation. Perhaps Williams also used the ship as a symbol because he attained freedom of religion when he reached the Western Hemisphere, and a ship (The Lyon) was the vehicle that brought him there. Since he was so strong in his beliefs, Williams took his counter cultural beliefs even further and founded the First Baptist church of Providence as well as Providence Plantation, a colony for religious minorities.

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This entry was posted in American Literary Studies, Colonial Literature, Honors English III, Religion and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Roger Williams

  1. I don’t notice anything you could’ve done better and I really liked the symbolism you picked up from the quote. The theological independence and rebellion he ignited was unique to Williams in this assignment, which is interesting. Good Job!

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