Religious toleration during the protectorate

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Religious Toleration during the Protectorate
Cromwell wanted to establish religious harmony in England which he used the term
"healing a settling" to try and accomplish. He believed religious freedom was a
fundamental right, but he drew the line at fanatics. In the instrument of government
there was a lot of toleration provided, however, popery was not to be tolerated.
Cromwell put his views on toleration into practice when set up the triers and ejectors
who were supervisors to public ministers; they gave ordinances for "appointing public
preachers" and ejecting "Scandalous, inefficient ministers". This policy was largely
successful because the triers and ejectors did improve the quality of church ministry,
very few were ejected. Cromwell had sympathy to those he regarded as godly;
Independents, Presbyterians and Baptists.
The Position of the Catholics
Cromwell's Ireland campaign revealed that he didn't like Catholics because he viciously
slaughtered them. He saw them as the antichrist. Catholics who sought accommodation
with the Protectorate were called Blackloists. However, the liberty of conscience
encouraged by Cromwell protested at the execution of a Jesuit priest in 1654 and
Cromwell once attended mass at chapel in the Venetian embassy.
The Jews
Cromwell proposed that Jews be allowed to live, practise worship and trade in England,
the protectorate council then refused this. But Cromwell allowed the Jews back into the
country unofficially because he wanted Jews to convert to Christianity.
Cromwell's religious toleration was selective and conditional but there was relative
religious freedom.


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