Relegious Toleration Process Began During The Colonial Period
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To many North American Immigrants, religion was central to their entire belief system. Some sought religious freedom for their religion and an end to their persecution. In 1620, Plymouth's Pilgrims who had faced no religious persecution in the Netherlands left, as they feared their youth would be led astray. Massachusetts Bay Puritans banished dissenters to their own colonial Congregationalist denomination, banished other denominations and executed those who violated such banishment.. Catholic Maryland was a haven but soon had a Protestant majority
and a virtual civil war between the two. See Turning Points in American History: The Colonial Period.

The Religious toleration process began with Puritan dissenter Roger Williams. He founded Rhode Island where he established separation of church and state and opposed forced worship. Dutch New Amsterdam allowed the first Jewish community. It  was passed by a Protestant legislature. Soon  Pennsylvania's most tolerant Quakers joined assisted the process. The English 1640's Civil Wars, which  establishment of a Puritan dictatorship, illustrated the problems of religious and political conflict.

Marylandís famous 1649 Religious Toleration Act  protected Catholics from Protestant antagonism. The Act allowed freedom of worship for Maryland's  Trinitarian Christians, but sentenced to death anyone who denied the divinity of Jesus. It was revoked in 1654 by 
William Claiborne
, a Virginian who had been appointed as a commissioner by Oliver Cromwell.
He was an Anglican, a Puritan sympathizer, an Anglican and strongly hostile to the Catholic Religion.
 Lord Calvert's followers regained control of Maryland, the Act was reinstated, before being repealed permanently in 1692 following the events of the 
Glorious Revolution, and the Protestant Revolution in Maryland. As the first law on religious tolerance in the British North America, it influenced related laws in other colonies and portions of it were echoed in the writing of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which enshrined religious freedom in American law.

Why Do We Believe the Myth concerning freedom of religion. Anachronistic tendency
confuse colonial practice with the 1791 First Amendment to the Constitution which banned any state established religion, established federal legal religious toleration. It did not represent  events that occurred 150 years of history and banned only Congress from establishing a state religion. State churches  continued into the 19th century. It took the 1868 Fourteenth Amendment in 1868 and 20th century Supreme Court decisions to complete the legal part of the process. Projection of events from 1791Ė1833 onto the 1600s is more anachronistic. Projecting our contemporary values onto the past  is more anachronistic. Because Roger Williams called  for tolerance and the separation of church and state to protect his true church from the corruption of the state is one isolated event. Turning Points in American History: 1973_Finally Brings Fast Track Civil Rights

Plenty of religious prejudice existed during all of U.S. history. Deep anti-Catholicism
prejudice reached a peak in 1850 with the
anti-Catholicxenophobic,  immigration hostile Know Nothing Party

Anti-Catholicism reemerged in the early 1920 with  the Ku Klux Klan. It played a role in the 1928 presidential election defeat of Catholic Al Smith.

The Real Emergence of Religious Toleration
During and after World War II many began to really question their attitude religious tolerance. Many Americans witnessed Hitlerís racist ideas and the hideous consequences of his literal implementation of religious and racial prejudices. Americans in uniform saw and interacted with other Americans of different religions and races for the first time.
 The impact of this awakening was profound and nearly immediate. In just a few years the Major League Baseball was integrated, a film about anti-Semitism in American won the Oscar for Best Picture, President Harry Truman  ordered the integration of the armed forces, and he recognized of the state of Israel, and the Supreme Court ordered integration of the public schools.