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257 – September 14 – This Day in Baptist History Past

Adams, Pres. John

President John Adams –

Champions of Full Religious Freedom

History confirms that freedom of conscience was not basic to the desire of the early founders of our republic. From the earliest days of American history, Baptists had petitioned those in authority for total freedom of religion for all Americans. When in September 1774, delegates from twelve provinces assembled in Congress at Philadelphia with a view to agreeing on united resistance to British control, it seemed propitious that the Baptists set forth their case again. Isaac Backus, Baptist pastor of note, was assigned by the members of the Warren Association (of Baptists) on September 14, 1774, to attend that meeting to see if something might be done to secure religious liberty. In Philadelphia, Backus was joined by Baptist leaders: James Manning, John Gano, Samuel Jones, William Rogers, and Morgan Edwards, and on October 14th, a meeting was arranged with the principal members of Congress. Thomas Cushing, Samuel Adams, John Adams, and R. T. Paine represented Massachusetts; while James Kinzie, of New Jersey, Stephen Hopkins, and Samuel Ward, of Rhode Island; and Joseph Galloway and Thomas Miflin, of Pennsylvania were also present. The grievances of the Baptists in Massachusetts were set before those men, but the contingent from Massachusetts sought to refute the charges. After a four-hour session the conference closed, and the Baptists had gained only small concessions. John Adams remarked that “the Baptists might as well expect a change in the solar system as to expect that the Massachusetts authorities would give up their establishment.”

 

Dr. Dale R. Hart From: “This Day in Baptist History III” David L. Cummins pp.534 – 536

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