In the Massachusetts Bay Colony a law was passed by the General Court, November 12, 1644, banishing those who "refused to countenance infant baptism and the use of secular force in religious things."
Dr. Clarke, along with Obadiah Holmes and Mr. Crandall were arrested for holding an unauthorized meeting. They were to be forced to attend a Congregational meeting. The above quote was Dr. Clarke's response.
These three men were willing to endure the consequences of their dissent. Indeed, Obadiah Holmes received a whipping for it.
Almost 300 years later, we find our country in a similar struggle over freedom of religion. A Catholic priest declared that his faith, his conscience, would cause him to stand firm even unto death. Such is the power of convictions of faith.
Throughout the ages men and women died for their faith, standing firm that what they believed were right. Yet, in our day to not stand strong has become a virtue. To allow others to impose their ideologies upon us, making us accept theirs as superior to our own seems at times to be considered right. Our "national religion," therefore, becomes founded upon assimilation rather than freedom of conscience (the core of freedom of religion).
But true believers in Christ are exhorted to hold firm to the truth even when faced with persecution.
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.How will you respond when your faith is tested and your life or livelihood threatened? Will you hold to it, or will you succumb to the pressures of government, society, or friends?
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me." John 15:18-21