Zachary Bailes, a seminary student at Wake Forest, has this interesting perspective on the public outcry against Jessica Ahlquist in Cranston, RI.
An irony not lost on students of history is that Roger Williams, the prodigious 17th century rabble-rouser, founded America’s First Baptist Church in nearby Providence in the name of “soul freedom” after banishment from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Now the eventual state founded by the man who championed religious liberty long before it was popular (and some might contend that it still isn’t) appears antagonistic toward the idea.
Published by the Associated Baptist Press web site (of all places!), Bailes reminds Cranston’s largely Roman Catholic population that it wasn’t all that long ago they themselves were on Jessica’s side of the line.
Not too long ago it wasn’t a good idea to announce in public that you were Catholic. John F. Kennedy had to make a case to Southern Baptist ministers in 1960 that if he were elected president papal rule would not seep into the Oval Office. http://usinfo.org/docs/democracy/66.htm
Where I grew up Protestants did not date or associate with Catholics. Catholics were seen as the “other” and for some the sentiment still exists. If anything, the Catholic community in Cranston should protect Ahlquist and others because they share a similar story.
You tell ’em, Zachary!