To the Editor:
I have found that much of what people say about Roger Williams is not true.
They say that Williams worked as a minister, but he didn’t. Yes, he ministered all of his life, but he made money by owning a trading post, and as Rhode Island grew he received money working for the colony. He was a volunteer minister, but was paid as a politician and merchant.
Williams is credited with founding the Baptist Church in America. He did spend a few months with a group of Particular Baptists, banished from Massachusetts, but he quit the group after a few months. Chaddus Brown and others were the true founders of the Baptist Church.
Everyone says that Roger Williams “bought” the land upon which Providence was built. This is a distortion. From the moment Williams arrived in America, he strove to be a friend of the Indians. He learned their language, their customs, their values, and much more. Yes, there was a deed, but Williams was considered a brother to the Narragansetts.
Williams is credited, too, with creating the concept of “separation of church and state.” The problem here is that he did much, much more. He wrote that Christians couldn’t harm people because of differences in religion. He also created aspects of governance built into the colony’s charter and constitutions that were very profound political ideas. They are so brilliant that Oliver Cromwell used them in his several constitutions.
You can read more at www.marcwkohler.com/roger-williams-draft-essay.
Mr. Kohler is a family entertainer, puppeteer and Roger Williams fan.