What I learned at the Spectacle

The Spectacle of Toleration project is pretty much wrapped up. In the fall of 2015, we will have a volume of papers from the conference, and we are working on a video component, but the day-to-day work of thinking about and organizing on this topic is complete.  I am now...
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Protesters Disrupt Hindu Prayer in Senate

What are we to make of this moment? The Supreme Court’s recent decision was based on the idea  that any religious tradition might be represented in an opening prayer, but clearly some feel the message was otherwise:    
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Tolerance in Azerbaijan

A re-posting of information about religious tolerance in a far away place: http://hir.harvard.edu/blog/sama-mammadova/religious-tolerance-in-azerbaijan-jews-germans-molokans-and-the-udi-of-nij    
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“God requireth not a uniformity of religion to be enacted and enforced in any civil state:” A Conclusion and an Invitation

As I mentioned in my introduction, discussions that mix history, politics, and history can lead to tense conversations and mutual mistrust.  We often come to these conversations with our minds made up and are not open to hearing what others have to say.  I hope that these...

“Men’s consciences ought in no sort to be violated, urged, or constrained:” Treatment of Native Americans

Last week we considered the religion of enslaved Africans, and noted that, although many converted to Christianity, others tried to hold on to their original cultures and religions.  This week, let’s consider the experience of another non-Western group: Native Americans. ...

African Spirituality in Newport

We’ve spent a lot of time this summer and fall considering ideals about religious toleration in Rhode Island, much of which was possible thanks to the 1663 Charter.  Most of these topics have related to Judeo-Christian religious ideas, and to the European settlers. ...

“To bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance:” The Jewish Community in Newport

In the past few weeks, we have been exploring how policies regarding religious toleration at the colony and city level in Rhode Island and Newport played out in daily life.  Last week, we considered why Quakers, a group of Christians who were marginalized in many of the other...

“Be still and cool in thine own mind and spirit:” Quakers and the Great Friends Meeting House in Newport

Colonial Rhode Island and Newport were havens for religious dissenters.  The Charter of 1663 promised religious toleration to inhabitants of the Colony, and early laws promised similar religious toleration to inhabitants of Newport itself.  We have already seen how these ideals...

Division Street: A Microcosm of Colonial Newport

Last week we looked at a map of colonial Newport and explored how the built landscape reflected the town founders’ ideals.  As the early settlers arrived in Newport while escaping religious persecution elsewhere, the town was built to accommodate people with many different...