Encyclopedia of American Religious History by Edward L Queen II, Stephen R Prothero, Gardiner H Shattuck

By Edward L Queen II, Stephen R Prothero, Gardiner H Shattuck Jr., Fairfax M Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the History of Modern Christianity Martin E Marty

This encyclopedia outlines the philosophers, personalities, social concerns, and cultural histories of non secular practices all through American heritage.

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Spain, however, started this process much earlier, beginning in 1492 with the expulsion of the Jews and increasing legal pressures on Muslims, culminating in the 1502 edict demanding conversion or exile and the 1610 decree that expelled everyone suspected of harboring hidden Islamic practices. In such an environment, Protestantism made little headway. While one of the leaders of the so-called Radical Reformation, Michael A Short History of Religion in America Servetus, was a Spaniard by birth, he preached and taught mostly in France and then, after his escape from Lyon, in Geneva.

In fact, religious confl ict and political confl ict often were inseparable. Catholics in Protestant realms, particularly in England, were suspect. Many feared that they not only desired to return the country to the Catholic fold but also were agents of Catholic Spain or France. Similar views of Protestants marked the Catholic kingdoms and principalities. In such an environment, religious difference easily became equated with disloyalty, if not outright treason. These fears were not necessarily unfounded.

Four historical events played major roles in the transformation of the American colonists’ functional experiences of religious tolerance. These were (1) the growth, expansion, and diversity of the colonial population; (2) the English Civil War, the Restoration, and the Glorious Revolution; (3) the connection created by the French wars; and (4) the influence of the Enlightenment on colonial elites. As mentioned earlier, one of the major differences between Britain’s American colonies and the reality of Europe was the openness of space and the ability to settle pretty much anywhere one desired.

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