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Posted by: thepinetree on 07/06/2020 02:09 PM Updated by: thepinetree on 07/06/2020 02:09 PM
Expires: 01/01/2025 12:00 AM
:

Roger Williams, Rhode Island's & My Father's Favorite Founding Father ~ John Hamilton

Arnold, CA...Looking back I guess I had a bit of a different childhood. My father was a public school teacher and old school farmer. We had a dairy until I was in elementary school and then transitioned to beef cattle. I grew up on 70 acres at the edge of the foothills outside of Denair, CA. He loved teaching, public education and seeing the light bulbs in young minds turn on when they realized they could not only learn but excel.






At the same time he was a crusty old school farmer and rugged individualist. We built our own house, dug our own well, grew our own hay. All things that were unusual even in the 60s & 70s let alone now. He viewed teaching and farming as both full time jobs. So growing up my father routinely worked 90 to 100 hours per week and was his happiest doing so.

A handout to my father was actually an insult to him if he thought you were implying he couldn't do it himself. At the same time he believed it was good to live in a country that could have broad social safety nets to catch those who might not be able to make it without assistance.

How does all this tie into Roger Williams? I think a great deal. Roger Williams believed in true religious liberty, freedom & property rights for not only himself but others. regardless of race or creed. He believed if you got these right everything else followed. In our house growing up it wasn't Washington, Jefferson or even Lincoln that was talked about, it was Roger Williams.

He believed that native Americans had freedom for their religion and ownership rights of their land and should be compensated for it. Their rights were just as inalienable for them as for the new residents of Rhode Island.

Roger Williams while extremely religious believed in the separation of church and state as not only a protection of civil liberties but religious ones as well. We forget that the whole burning at the stake and hanging for religious heresy was still very real.

For Williams the whole separation of church and state was a real life or death principle. It literally meant that one's life was safe from being taken because you were a Protestant instead of Catholic, Jewish instead of Muslim. Or Catholic instead of Church of England.

My father put these principles into practice in a very real way in my childhood. He happily taught in the public school system and believed it was his calling or even his mission. I however was sent to parochial schools as he believed it was a better education for me.

We were not wealthy so it was a sacrifice for my parents to pay my tuition. Even so my father was against vouchers or any government funding of private schools. It certainly would have made his life easier but felt that if a private school accepted public funding the government had the right and the obligation to make sure the tax payer funds were spent in a publicly acceptable manner.

In my father's and Roger William's opinion freedom, religious freedom and property rights made good societies and communities. They were inexorably related but for the safety of each, not linked. This also ties into Ben Franklin's beliefs on religion and government. He believed all religions should be promoted and their practice encouraged as it made better citizens.

Roger Williams did not believe might makes right. Freedom for me but not for thee, etc. For him to enjoy his freedom he knew you had to have your freedom as well. Roger William's writings influenced John Locke who was cited by several of our founding fathers as an intellectual underpinning for our government.

My father loved Roger Williams because he had the intellectual basics right. For dad if you got the basics right you didn't need worry about much else.

Roger Williams, Ben Franklin & my Father believed that liberty means liberty. You and I should have beliefs, thoughts and opinions that we hold dear that at the same time have no place as public policy.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness is unique for all of us...as it should be.



Comments - Make a comment
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Posted on: 2020-07-06 14:13:51   By: Anonymous
 
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      Why? Because he oppressed the black Americans, or because he later realized the tragedy of that, and recanted his former racism?

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