“Noe person… shall bee any wise molested… for any differences in opinione in matters of religion:” The 1663 Rhode Island Charter

Since the Spectacle of Toleration project celebrates the 350th anniversary of the 1663 Charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, let’s spend some time discussing its historical context and the document itself.  Many of us may know that the Charter granted...

“This IS a Christian nation:” Michael Feldberg on the Founding of the United States and Israel

In our last few posts here at the Spectacle of Toleration blog, we have been discussing “How Christian an Understanding?,” the June 21 event sponsored by the Newport Historical Society.  Our first panelist, John Fea, author of Was America Founded as a Christian...

“What was George Washington’s view on abortion?:” John Fea on the Past’s Complexity

Now that we have experienced how to think historically, let’s apply some of those skills.  As we mentioned earlier, a few of our posts will discuss a Newport Historical Society event held on June 21 entitled “How Christian an Understanding?”  John Fea, author of...

“When you mix religion and politics, you get politics:” John Barry on Roger Williams and the Founding of Rhode Island

In previous posts, we explored what it means to think historically,and historicized the concept of the separation of church and state.  As we mentioned before, Roger Williams was one of the first people to articulate the separation of church and state, and he founded Rhode Island...

An “Unnatural Act:” Thinking Like a Historian

Before we can get into complicated historical debates about the role of religion and politics in the past, we must first understand how historians think.  Many of us know a great deal about the past.  Our elementary, middle, and high school teachers taught us useful and important...

The “livelie experiment:” An Introduction to Religion and Politics in History

When strung together, words like “religion,””history,” and “politics” can be contentious.  To help us make sense of our past, the Spectacle of Toleration program will explore questions about religion in American history throughout 2013.  This...

GWIRF Educator’s Toolkit

The George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom’s Educator’s Kit
By :
Comments : 0

Enshrined Ideals: Rhode Island’s Charter in Theory & Practice, from Birth to Statehood

The concept of separation of church and state is fundamental to American identity; it is etched deeply into our communal disposition and present in our national documents. The Constitution and its first amendment rights affect our interaction with theocratic governments around...
By :
Comments : 0


February 17, 2014

Third Day Gospel Choir in Concert

The Tufts University Third Day Gospel Choir, the Gospel Ensemble Confirmation and Director David Coleman present traditional and contemporary gospel music.


October 26, 2013

Norumbega Harmony

A concert of early American music at Trinity Church, Newport RI on October 26th at 7 pm.
Norumbega Harmony practices the tradition of the itinerant signing school that gave birth to Sacred Harp singing. The group’s repertoire consists of music from the colonial and Revolutionary era of new England as well as music from the Sacred Harp and American folk hymn traditions.


Oct 3-6, 2013

“No Person Shall Bee Anywise Molested”

A conference on the role of religious tolerance in society.

More than 40 scholarly papers – by historians, legal scholars, journalists and others – will be presented on topics ranging in time and space from 17th century England through colonial American to 20th century Seattle. The conference will include two public keynotes, one each in Newport and Providence.

Learn More