Throughout this “series” of figures within major denominations who fought for colonial freedom, we’ve seen the evidence of deep patriotism through many a person’s actions. Whether they were Baptist, Quaker, or Presbyterian, all of the colonists examined sacrificed some, if not all, ties or possessions for the cause of independence. But perhaps those patriots of the Anglican Church gave up the most.
Prestigious and aristocratic in its appearance and structure, the goal of the Anglican Church in the colonies was to be the ultimate connection between Mother England and its subjects. Not only would people be bonded to the Crown by political ties, but by spiritual and societal connections as well.
The Church was well established as a religion in a number of British colonies, though smaller compared to other major growing denominations at the time. It was also instrumental in founding present-day Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania as well, both heavy social influences to this day.
Additionally, the idea of the church and state working to sustain one another was promoted as well. In colonies most extremely proponent of this principle, the state protected and helped in providing for the church. The return in the exchange, however, was direct and indirect control of the moral (and other) influences to the people.
Rough figures calculated by writings and other works suggest that out of all the Founding Fathers to sign America’s founding documents, over 50% were active members of the Anglican Church. No doubt such a connection weighed heavily on their minds as they approached each document and signed their names below the respective texts in deep solemnity.
For upon signage of one’s name to that document meant, not only the dissolution of political bonds to the Crown, but, in a sense, spiritual ones as well. The Anglican faith was a religion that they themselves had been a part of for many, many years, whose royal authority and protection they were now resolving to throw off so they might exercise the civil liberties given them by their Creator.
It was through this act of conviction and faith that Anglican patriots aided in securing true “separation of church and state” to generations later through protections listed in our First Amendment still today. Our Founding Fathers were determined that never again would the influence of any one church be combined with that of an abusive government. Never again would the two together have so much control.
We’ve seen the widespread commitment amongst Baptists in fighting for the cause of liberty. We’ve also witnessed the zeal shown by Presbyterians in doing so as well. We saw the determination by Quakers to buck the traditional norm to fight for what is right. But thank God for the Anglicans who gave up their all so we might have the freedoms we have today. Were it not for their unity with others and such sacrifice, America might not exist today.
May this serve as an inspiration to fight for one another as we would wish others would fight for us. May we remember the motto which rings so true in this dark hour for Christianity—“United we stand, divided we fall.”