The Prophet of Religious Freedom
Forced worship stinks in God's nostrils.
Roger Williams, in a letter to Connecticut
Governor Thomas Prence (1670)
The steeple in front of you is the First Baptist Church in America, gathered by Roger Williams in 1638. Williams was deeply religious, but adamant in his belief that religious and civil life should be separate. Raised and ordained in the Church of England, Williams and his wife, Mary, fled with other Puritan reformers to New England in 1631. After settling in Massachusetts Bay Colony, his separatist views threatened colonial leadership, and he was banished.
Williams founded a new community called Providence. Here, he insisted that civil rather than religious law would govern and that "all were free to walk as their conscience persuades them." Williams's legacy lives on in the Rhode Island Charter and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
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Although a devout Christian, Williams eventually denounced formal religion, preferring instead small, home-based meetings for preaching and religious fellowship.
Location. 41° 49.74′ N, 71° 24.593′ W. Marker is in Providence, Rhode Island, in Providence County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street (U.S. 44) and Court Street, on the left when traveling north on Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Providence RI 02903, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Roger Williams National Memorial (a few steps from this marker); A Changing Nation (within shouting distance of this marker); Gone From Hence (within shouting distance of this marker); Channeling Progress (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Meeting Street School (about 300 feet away); Shakespeare's Head (about 300 feet away); Court and State House (about 400 feet away); College Hill Historic District (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Providence.
Also see . . .
1. Roger Williams Bio at Roger Williams National Memorial. (Submitted on August 26, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Roger Williams ... A Brief Biography. (Submitted on August 26, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Topics. This marker is included in these topic lists: Churches & Religion • Colonial Era • Settlements & Settlers
Credits. This page was last revised on August 26, 2018. This page originally submitted on August 26, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 75 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 26, 2018, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.