Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Roger Williams Revival?

Over at Religion in American History, Linford Fisher writes about the renewal of interest in Roger Williams, the Puritan founder of Rhode Island and champion of religious liberty. 

Rhode Island has been celebrating the 375th anniversary of its founding (the anniversary was last year, but the party continues). John Barry's recent book Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul is getting a lot of attention. And several conferences on Williams are in the works.

Williams (and Anne Hutchinson) best represent the spirit of the American founders on religious freedom.  Yet many still insist on tracing the religious roots of the United States to the largely intolerant Puritans and Pilgrims.

Here is a taste of Fisher's post:

There’s more one could say about how Roger Williams continues to inspire and haunt this great city. I’ll leave you with this. If you are ever at the John Brown House Museum on College Hill, ask the receptionist to see the Roger Williams root and hear its story. This experience alone will give you a sense of the staying power that Williams has had and will likely to continue to have in this endearing city and state. In the meantime, brace yourself for more national discussions regarding Williams, Rhode Island, and religious liberty (if nowhere else, on this blog in the coming weeks when I post my review of Barry’s book).