Historically, the Act concerning religion, commonly known as the Maryland Toleration Act was adopted on April 21, 1649. However, the origin of this act goes back to 1634, when a group of Catholics came to Maryland in order to collaborate with the wealthy landowners who successfully ran agriculture and efficiently conducted craftwork. However, the desire to have profoundly effective teamwork amidst the Catholics and local residents was not reached, since Catholicism as a religion was in constant danger due to the rapid development of Protestantism. Consequently, in 1649 Lord Baltimore signed the Toleration Act with the aim to reduce serious issues concerning divergences in religious views. Moreover, one of the main purposes of this Act was to proclaim freedom to all religions who believe in the holy Trinity, the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, the holy Apostles, and the Evangelists. On the contrary, people who profess the religions that deny either the Trinity or the Virgin Mary will be seriously punished or their properties will be seized for the welfare of Lord Baltimore and his future generations. Moreover, the offenders should pay 5 pounds of sterling or be whipped or imprisoned, in case, if they do not have any money (Wiersema 1). It is clearly seen that religions, such as the Jewish religion and Unitarianism were at the high risk practicing their theological views. Furthermore, according to this law, the person who calls the Maryland citizen a “heretic, puritan, or popish priest” should pay a fine of 10 pounds sterling, or apologize to the offended person, otherwise, the offender will be whipped or imprisoned.
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All in all, despite the strict rules of the Maryland Toleration Act, it significantly helped the government to protect the rights and religious beliefs of minority religious groups. Moreover, this act is estimated as the most important milestone in the history of the USA, since this act provided the citizens of Maryland with more rights, comparing to the most of British colonies. However, the Maryland Toleration Act did not utterly bring religious freedom to all religious groups.
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