The right to religious freedom in America has its roots in Flushing, and now federal lawmakers want to preserve local buildings, including the John Bowne House, where the struggle for religious freedom took place.
Congress passed a bill that would require the federal government to maintain sites like the John Bowne House in Flushing associated with the 1657 signing of the Flushing Remonstrance, the document recognized as the forerunner of religious freedom in America. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Grace Meng, of Queens, in the U.S. House of Representatives, where it passed in September.
“The 1657 Remonstrance triggered events which established the principle of religious freedom in the colony of New Amsterdam,” said Rosemary Vietor, vice president of the Bowne House Historical Society, “which led to the guarantee of religious freedom in the First Amendment more than 100 years later.”
The bill passed the Senate on Saturday and has been sent to President Obama for his signature. If the bill is enacted, the National Park Services would examine whether the properties — John Bowne House and the Quaker Meeting House — meet the agency’s standards of being included in the national park system. The study could lead to the locations either becoming a National Historic Park or a National Historic Site or the creation of a partnership to support the facilities.
For more, go to the Queens Courier.