Religious toleration is one of the basic principles of...

Dayton (O.) Herald

Religious toleration is one of the basic principles of our republic. It is one of the fundamental truths of a free government. In spirit, at least, whosoever practises religious persecution is guilty of treason. In this land of liberty every one is free to believe according to the dictates of his conscience. He may belong to this church, to that church, or to no church. In all this he is acting strictly within his legal rights. He is still a good American citizen, simply because he has not invaded the equal rights of others. But let him begin to persecute, let him begin to slander, let him begin to bear false witness, simply because he desires to injure those who are not of his religious faith; then he ceases to be a true American citizen, he has violated the most precious rights of others, he has violated the spirit of our fundamental law, he is a disgrace to American citizenship.

Where is the instance in history of a religious doctrine that was rooted out by persecution? On the contrary, persecution helps a religious doctrine, and the reason is on the surface. Persecution arouses a spirit of defense on the part of those who do not even pretend to have faith in the doctrine, but who have faith in fair play. Persecution of any religion is contemptible and un-American.

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