"Tolerance" is a greatly-misunderstood concept in our day.
In the name of "tolerance," Christians are legally required to discard their religion.
James Madison, the "Father of the Constitution," and other Founding Fathers, opposed "tolerance." For Madison, Liberty was the requirement, not tolerance. Tolerance meant that the government could repress religious expression, but in its great tolerance, chose not to . . . at least for now.
|In Virginia, where alone there was an arduous struggle in the legislature, the presbytery of Hanover demanded the disestablishment of the Anglican church and the civil equality of every denomination; it was supported by the voices of Baptists and Quakers and all the sects that had sprung from the people; and, after a contest of eight weeks, the measure was carried, by the activity of Jefferson, in an assembly of which the majority were Protestant Episcopalians. Nor was this demand by Presbyterians for equality confined to Virginia, where they were in a minority; it was from Witherspoon of New Jersey that Madison imbibed the lesson of perfect freedom in matters of cone science. When the constitution of that state was framed by a convention composed chiefly of Presbyterians, they established perfect liberty of conscience, without the blemish of a test. Free-thinkers might have been content with toleration,
but religious conviction would accept nothing less than equality. The more profound was faith, the more it scorned to admit a connection with the state; for, such a connection being inherently vicious, the state might more readily form an alliance with error than with truth, with despotism over mind than with freedom. The determination to leave truth to her own strength, and religious worship to the conscience and voluntary act of the worshipper, was the natural outflow of religious feeling.
George Bancroft, History of the United States, Vol. 5, p. 123
"Toleration" meant that the State permitted some Christians to worship according to their consciences, but the State actually deemed those practices to be wrong, and at any time the State could withdraw its grace and punish that form of Christian worship deemed to be incorrect. Puritans such as William Perkins and Americans such as James Madison opposed "toleration" and fought for "liberty" of conscience.
- v.t. To suffer [allow] to be or to be done without prohibition or hinderance; to allow or permit negatively, by not preventing' not to restrain; as, to tolerate opinions or practices. The protestant religion is tolerated in France, and the Roman Catholic in Great Britain.
- Crying should not be tolerated in children. --Locke
The law of love tolerates no vice, and patronizes every virtue. -- G. Spring.
n. The act of tolerating; the allowance of that which is not wholly approved; appropriately, the allowance of religious opinions and modes of worship in a state, when contrary to or different from those of the established church or belief. Toleration implies a right in the sovereign to control men in their opinions and worship, or it implies the actual exercise of power in such control. Where no power exists or none is assumed to establish a creed and a mode of worship, there can be no toleration, for no toleration, in the strict sense of the word, for one religious denomination has as good a right as another to the free enjoyment of its creed and worship.
Webster's, 1st ed., 1828
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