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History 101 By Professor Hume

Reported by Nancy - December 20, 2005 -

I previously posted a review of Sunday night's special hosted by Brit Hume entitlee "Religion in America: Church & State" But there's one more issue I'd like to address. Early on in the program, Hume made an error of fact. A lot of Americans make the same mistake -- thinking that we in the US essentially invented religious freedom. Hume said that it was the "greatest innovation to political society that Americans have made" & called it a "huge break with the tradition of Europe." In fact, there are traditions of religious tolerance going back to antiquity.

Here are some specific examples from *before* (in some cases, 2,000 years before) our Constitution was written: Please feel free to add any other instances you can support with reference to a source. I didn't try to be comprehensive -- a few examples suffice to show that the idea that the US invented religious tolerance & freedom is just plain wrong.

*In polytheistic empires like the Persians & Romans & in the city-state of Athens, there was some degree of tolerance, even though there was an "official" state religion.

*The Edict of Milan (AD 313) declared that the Roman Empire would be neutral with regard to religious worship, officially ending all government-sanctioned persecution, especially of Christianity. [note: the Edict was quickly undermined by Christians]

*The Romans built the Pantheon in 118 AD to honor all gods, not just the "official" Roman ones.

*In Lithuania, during the founding of Vilnius at the beginning of the 14th century, the Lithuanians experimented with tolerance (the experiment lasted about 2 centuries).

*The Peace of Westphalia, in 1648, is one of the first international documents on religious tolerance.

*Hindu & Buddhist sects created a form of religious freedom in India, Japan, & China, & limited religious liberty was permitted under the Islamic caliphate.

*In 1598 the promulgation of the Edict of Nantes by Henry IV of France enabled the Huguenots to obtain a certain degree of religious freedom.

*The Mongol Empire had a benevolent attitude to foreign religions.

Comments: We have plenty of things to be proud of in the US. Why do the psychopatriots insist on making stuff up? It reminds me of Chekhov on the original "Star Trek."

If you'd like to complain to Fox about this, email: Comments@foxnews.com

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Hume's error, or the the history of religioius tolerance & freedom in general). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.