The American View of Toleration verses True Liberty
Love, not Force
True and intelligent Christians will never seek to control the religious or nonreligious opinions of even a single man, save by the law of love and the method of persuasion and reason. They know in their own experience that Christ did not compel their allegiance by force; He won it by love. As did Christ toward them so will they act toward others, not in toleration, but in the true liberty of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And this is the Golden Rule.
“Toleration is an important step from State-churchism to free-churchism. But it is only a step. There is a great difference between toleration and liberty. Toleration is a concession which may be withdrawn. It implies a preference for the ruling form of faith and worship, and a practical disapproval of all other forms. …In our country we ask no toleration for religion and its free exercise, but we claim it as an inalienable right.”—Dr. Philip Schaff, in Church and State in the United States.
“What other nations call religious toleration, we call religious rights. They are not exercised in virtue of governmental indulgence, but as rights, of which governments can not deprive any portion of its citizens, however small. Despotic power may invade those rights, but justice still confirms them.”—U. S. Senate Report, 1829
“I consider the government of the United State as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, disciples, or exercises.”—Thomas Jefferson to Rev. Mr. Millar, Jan. 23, 1808.