" All Men Have The Natural and Inalienable Right to Worship God." -James Oglethorpe - January 13
- 2013 13 Jan
Educated at Oxford, James Oglethorpe joined the Austrian army at age 17 and helped free Belgrade from Muslim Turks. Returning to England, Oglethorpe accidentally killed a man in a brawl and went to prison. Upon release, he followed his father's footsteps and served in Parliament. Oglethorpe opposed slavery and, after a friend died in debtors' prison, he decided to found a colony in America for debtors and religious refugees. Receiving Georgia's Charter, from King George II, James Oglethorpe's ship "Ann" arrived on JANUARY 13, 1733, with 115 settlers. Minister Herbert Henry offered prayer at the ship's arrival. A year later, Austrian "Salzburger" Protestants settled the town of Ebenezer. More immigrants came, including Moravian missionaries, John Wesley, and his brother Charles, who was Oglethorpe's secretary. Georgia's Charter, 1732, stated: "There shall be a liberty of conscience allowed in the worship of God...and that all such persons, except papists, shall have a free exercise of their religion." Georgia's first State Constitution, 1777, required: "Representatives...shall be of the Protestant religion." A hundred years later, in 1877, Georgia's Constitution read: "Relying upon the protection and guidance of Almighty God...All men have the natural and inalienable right to worship God, each according to the dictates of his own conscience."