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Publication of An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty - Timeline Event

Founder

Isaac Backus

Time Period

1773

Description

In 1773, Backus published a collection of his sermons as An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty. In the pamphlet, Backus recounts the special taxes and fines levied against Baptist ministers simply because they were not apart of the "established," or official, church of each colony. Backus believed that Christians had forgotten a central tenet of the faith and so posed this question for proponents of established churches: "Now who can hear Christ declare, that his kingdom is, not of this world, and yet believe that this blending of church and state together can be pleasing to him?"

Backus' call for disestablishment is a legacy of the Baptist emphasis on individual soul liberty that goes back to Roger Williams and the founding of Rhode Island. It also anticipates Thomas Jefferson's famous statement about erecting a "wall of separation" by nearly three decades.

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Biographies

Backus, Isaac

Movements

The First Great Awakening

Photographs

An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty, title page- Internet Archive
An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty, title page- Internet Archive

Isaac Backus portrait- Internet Archive- from Early History of Brown University by Reuben Aldridge Guild
Isaac Backus portrait- Internet Archive- from Early History of Brown University by Reuben Aldridge Guild

Web Source(s)

https://classicliberal.tripod.com/misc/appeal.htmll
The full text of the sermon is available online.

Web Page Contributor

Paul Matzko
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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