Baptists in Virginia and the Carolinas

The colony of Virginia did not endorse or practice religious freedom. Colonial Virginia was Anglican. And only Anglican. “Dissenters” in Virginia, including Baptists, violated the law if they refused to have their infants baptized. (Baptists don’t believe in infant baptism.)

Leah Townsend in South Carolina Baptists, 1670-1805, 1935, notes “… Virginia in 1659 and 1662 passed laws against persons refusing to have infants baptized.”

This is why, historically, Baptists were early and strong supporters of the concept of separation of church and state. They had been oppressed, persecuted, and prosecuted when church and state were one.

But “After 1670 such persons could find peace in Carolina, where, in matters of religion, toleration was the attitude of the provincial government toward all sects (except the Roman Catholic) dissenting from the Anglican Church.”




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