245 – Sept. 02 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

 

Isaac Backus

She didn’t pay the tax because she was a Baptist

 The Ecclesiastical tax, which was approved by some colonies in early America which forced Baptists to pay assessments for the upkeep of churches of various denominations, usually Congregational or Anglican, was most obnoxious to early Baptists. For many years Baptists, both men and women, suffered because of these regulations. On September 2, 1774, Mrs. Martha Kimball sent a letter to the Rev. Isaac Backus relating her experience in this matter. She related the following: She said that the year was 1768 and the event took place on a cold winters’ night, about 9 or 10 o’clock. She was taken prisoner by the tax collector from her family, consisting of three small children. She was detained in a tavern on the way to jail to pay the sum of 4-8 LM (Legal Money) for the ministerial rate. She said that the reason she refused paying it before is because she was a Baptist and belonged to the Baptist society in Haverhill, and had carried in a certificate to the assessors. Thus they dealt with a poor widow woman in Bradford, Mass. She went on to say that after she paid what they demanded, upon threats of jail, that they released her from the tavern and she walked the two miles in the bitter weather back to her children. So in early colonial America, the Baptists were forced to support the “Standing Order” churches while financially caring for their own also. This was the climate that the First Amendment grew out of. It was the Baptists and other non-conformist churches that were responsible for the religious liberty amendment in the Bill of Rights, not the Protestants as we so often hear.

Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins/Thompson, pp.  362- 63.

The post 245 – Sept. 02 – This Day in Baptist History Past appeared first on The Trumpet Online.

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