Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

February 10, 2014

Letters to the Editor: 02/10/2014

Ideas an awakening

Most people believe that toleration arrived in North America with English colonists who were seeking religious freedom, but this is not the case. Moreover, religious toleration was not considered a virtue at the time. Even a desire to escape from religious persecution in Europe usually did not lead to a belief in tolerance for others. As a result, colonial history is filled with religious conflict and persecution. Puritans, for example, persecuted and banned virtually anyone who disagreed with them.

Religious toleration began in opposition to forced worship and as a way to protect many groups from persecution from others.

While religious toleration has historical roots in early colonial history it did not emerge in its modern form until Americans witnessed the hideous consequences of Hitler’s racist ideas.

The impact of this awakening was profound and nearly immediate. In just a few years after the war, Major League Baseball was integrated; a film about anti-Semitism in America won the Oscar for Best Picture. Truman ordered the integration of the armed forces and supported the recognition of the state of Israel. The Supreme Court ordered the integration of the public schools and the first Catholic was elected president.

Ronald Marshall

Petoskey

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