Essay on A Response to Washington's Letter to the Jews of Newport

Submitted By newaliii
Words: 766
Pages: 4

Religious Liberty On August 17th, 1790, Moses Sexias, warden of the Touro Synagogue, sent a letter to the President of the United States to inform him that the Jews of Newport, Rhode Island weren’t getting the same rights, even though they were citizens. Washington replied assuring them that they had nothing to fear, and that the new government would “give to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” As Washington stated in his letter to Moses Sexias, “All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.” In this statement, Washington is addressing the concern of Moses Sexias about equality of the Jews and the other citizens of the United States. Washington assured the Jews with the new government in town that each citizen will have the same rights and will observe the same laws of the United States Constitution. The First Amendment of the United States gives every citizen the right to freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of petition, freedom of assembly, and the most important: freedom of religion. Washington wanted to inform the People of Newport, Rhode Island that tolerance has moved to a whole new level, to accept people for who they are and to treat others with the same level of equality. He Stated, "It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights." Tolerance isn’t only used in a beneficial way, but to tolerate people for the better of humanity. Our “inherent natural rights” are what we owe to each other as equals. He believed that the Freedom of conscience is one of the inherent natural rights, where the government cannot undermine or limit ones right to freedom of religion, no matter if the religion is a majority or minority. Even though Islam is considered a minority religion in the United States, based on Washington’s letter and the First Amendment, the followers of Islam (Muslims) hold the same religious liberties as the majorities or to those promised to the Jews by Washington. Today we see many U.S. citizens who are Muslims being labeled as a threat or terrorist. Even though they are U.S. Citizens, they still face execution and/or imprisonment without trial. These injustices are a direct violation of the liberties that were promised to the minorities by Washington. Being labeled as a terrorist held many people back from their dreams, as some wished to become president while the others a lawyer, but face the reality of discrimination of religion. People loose trust and faith in Muslims because they are blamed for many attacks, thus not gaining the same amount of rights as other U.S. citizens. As we go back in time to 1960s during the time of Malcolm X, There is yet another example of religious and racial persecution. Malcolm was a U.S. citizen and he was a part of two minority