Discrimination of Different Faiths
As the local churches gained more power over their followers, the culture of each colony was shaped by the local organized religion. The negative effects of this religious dominance help explain why, when the federal government was formed years later, power was given back to the people and taken away from the church. In the New England colonies, the Puritans gained a stronger foothold than that of the Quakers. The Puritan church expelled Quakers from those colonies, taking their homes and separating them from their families, if not all family members were labeled as Quaker. If the accused refused to leave, they might be killed. In order to ensure better conversion, dissenters were also fined and whipped to make them fall in line with the local faith.
Catholics were also subjected to religious discrimination by their more conservative neighbors. Catholics, by basis of religion alone, were not allowed to vote, could not worship in public, and were not allowed to hold public office.
In the Virginia colony where Anglicanism ruled, all citizens were required to attend church and to be catechized by a minister. If someone refused to do so, they could be killed. Colonists were also required to financially support the church just as they would a governmental institution. They were not allowed to associate with anyone who was not of their faith unless they were attempting to convert people of differing faiths.
At the onset of the eighteenth century more immigrants came in and so did differing religious views. The New World grew to contain Quakers, Puritans, Jews, Catholics, Anglicans, Protestants, Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Baptists, Congregationalists, Evangelicals and Deists. Each group fought against the others over which church held the power to govern the people in their area. As more people became expelled from their colonies over religious beliefs, more new townships were formed.
With the above history, it is quite easy to see why there would be a need for separation of church and state. The early colonists were, in part, coming here to create a better life for themselves. They brought their ideals of oppression and enacted them in local townships. Religious oppression has eased in today's modern American culture when compared with that of the early Americans. This can be seen through modern diversity educational practices in Teaching Religion in Schools: Religious Rites and Ritual from Across the Globe.