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Resolution On Religious Liberty

The Southern Baptist Convention, assembled in the city of New Orleans, May 19, 1917, representing the views commonly held by the Baptists everywhere, contemplating with mingled feelings of sorrow and hope the conflict of the great nations, which we recognize as a struggle of militarism, autocracy and special privilege against the simple fundamental, indefeasible and inalienable human rights, goes to record before the world as follows:

Reaffirming the immemorial position of Baptists, we insist that the preaching of the gospel or any other form of religious belief should, of right, be free around the whole world, and the right to profess and to practice any or no religion is not to be brought into question by Tsar, Kaiser, Potentate, Ecclesiastical Council or any other human authority, whatever; therefore,

We hold unwaveringly to the belief that in the army camps preaching should be free to all alike–Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Baptists–subject only to such limitations as the exigencies of military order may require.

Contemplating the titanic struggle of humanity for individualism in state and in religion, we are moved by conflicting emotions of profound sorrow, and high hope; sorrow for the manifold griefs of the warring people, Teutonic, Saxon, Latin, our brothers all, and over against this, high hope for the emancipation, for which creation has groaned through weary centuries. We insist that in the reconstruction of modern civilization now going on that the President of the United States and his counsellors, whom Providence has thrust into the leadership of advancing civilization shall, in the final adjustment of the issues involved, see to it that everywhere religious persecutions shall cease, that preaching and the exercise of religion shall be free to every responsible human soul.