Welcome to the Anglosphere Project! A joint initiative of the Religious Freedom Institute and Cardus, this interactive timeline offers a constitutional and institutional history of this foundational liberty in the Anglo-American tradition.
As human beings, we possess inherent freedoms that no external power can lawfully either bestow or take away from us. In this sense these freedoms are pre-existing and not dependent on the civil authority. They are fundamental to us and relate to our dignity. Religious freedom is especially important because through this freedom we live out our most deeply held beliefs, whether religious or non-religious, both privately and publicly and so pursue truth and govern our lives according to the dictates of the truth.
Historically, the exercising of religious freedom and demands for religious freedom have been frequent markers of political and ecclesiastical debate as well as helping to shape our constitutions and laws. This is especially the case when we examine the constitutional and institutional history of the Anglo-American tradition as it developed in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada. How did this freedom historically come to have such a place? This interactive timeline aims to help answer this question. Through it we trace the presence of religious freedom through the histories of these countries, bound together by shared traditions, from Magna Carta to the present day.
It is our hope that by presenting the history of religious freedom and its deep roots in our three countries that we gain a greater appreciation of it and realize that it is our role as citizens, whether we have a religious faith or not, to exercise this freedom in the pursuit of truth and in the interest of the public good: the flourishing of our common life.