Thursday, August 26, 2010

Theme Thursday - Equal

Rhode Island was settled by spiritual refugees fleeing from the oppression of the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, who insisted on persecuting and punishing anyone who didn't adhere to their belief system. The colony's Royal Charter of 1663, written by Newport's own Dr. John Clarke, guaranteed equal treatment for all expression of religion in the colony. Rhode Island became the beacon of religious freedom and freedom of conscience in the American colonies. As Newport was the colony and later state capital (until around 1920), much of the religious diversity gravitated here. So here are some photos of our historical spiritual diversity.

Touro Synagogue, 1763; the oldest synagogue in the US.

The Great Friends Meeting House, 1699; the oldest house of worship in Rhode Island and the home of the New England Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends (aka Quakers).

Union Congregational Church, 1835; the first free African American church in Rhode Island (now a residence).

First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1929

And now for the music. I got into a Reggae mood this week, because when I fed "equal" into YouTube's search engine this tune was at the top of the list - Peter Tosh's "Equal Rights", performed by Afro Fiesta of Cape Town, South Africa, and recorded and filmed by the Playing for Change people.

And while we're in a Reggae groove and dealing with the Playing for Change phenomenon, how about a little Bob Marley? Here's his "One Love" performed by the Playing for Change Band live on tour, in this case in Madrid. Enjoy!

Photos & text © 2009 & 2010 by A. Roy Hilbinger


  1. Thanks for the history lesson and lovely images of various places of worship. I marvel at those who, after fleeing religious persecution in their homeland, persecute others for the same thing.

  2. I've heard you mention the religious diversity in Rhode Island before. Sounds idyllic, is it still like that.California makes a good point doesn't she. We who live in a land of immigrants seem to dislike the need of others to share our fortune. Very hypocritical of us.

  3. CG, the Puritans didn't flee England because they were being persecuted, they came to the New World because the legal authorities prevented them from persecuting others back home in England. Like the current religious right, the Puritans considered themselves persecuted because they weren't allowed by law to persecute others. Classic passive-aggressive behavior.

  4. Wonderful photos as usual and I love those Playing for Change videos. Great theme thursday post.

  5. What?!? "[T]he Puritans... insisted on persecuting and punishing anyone who didn't adhere to their belief system?" But in grammar school, we learned that they were the ones who wanted religious freedom!

    YES, I'm being sarcastic! And the previous comments would have clued me in even if I HAD still been so misinformed. *sigh* The more things change, etc.!

    Great post, and great photos, as always. In fact, I could save a lot of time when commenting on your blog if I copied-and-pasted "Great post, and great photos, as always," every time I showed up here!

  6. :) Love what you did with this theme!

  7. Hard evidence that our founders weren't closed as closed to different points of view as they are frequently depicted.