Soul Freedoms, the Life of John Clarke, America’s Forgotten Patriot is a Full Feature Historical Drama based on real events about one man’s self-sacrificing dedication to right the wrongs stemming from his own religious persecutions and witnessing the same of others.
As the appointed Agent for the Colony of Rhode Island, Dr. Clarke spent 12 years in London representing the Colony’s interests. His dedication and perseverance paid off and after 10 attempts he wrote and secured the Royal Charter of 1663 from King Charles II which granted Religious Freedom and Civil Liberties for the Colony of Rhode Island. Dr. John Clarke’s accomplishment was unprecedented, and even more remarkable he persevered through respect, diplomacy, humility and grace never saying an unkind word or negative action towards his adversaries or persecutors.
Dr. John Clarke’s story and the film’s message will be an inspiration how through heart driven focus and positive action it is possible to live together in peace and prosperity regardless of differing beliefs and without overreaching government interference.
After months of research and development our goal is to share Dr. John Clarke’s story through a Full Feature Film Historical Drama, Illustrated Book and Online Educational Resources. You can support out Project by donating through our Network For Good Donation Page. All donations are Tax Deductible.
John Clarke (1609-1676) was a highly educated physician, statesman and Baptist Minister. As a non-conformist, he came to America in 1637 seeking freedom to practice his faith without being persecuted, or under strict rule of the King.
Immediately upon arrival in Boston he observed the division within the colony regarding civil and religious matters. Banished from Massachusetts, he spent the winter in New Hampshire before seeking out land in what is now Rhode Island.
Dr. Clarke wanted to build a community where people of differing beliefs were welcome and could live in peace among one another without fear of being silenced or overreaching government interference.
In the years following, Dr. John Clarke helped his friend Roger Williams and William Coddington purchase Aquidneck Island from the Narragansett Indians on March 24, 1638. Dr. John Clarke and others signed the agreement on April 28, 1639, thus marking the establishment of Newport.
In 1638 he founded one of the first Baptist Churches in America. As the towns well loved Physician and Minister, he went on to help colonize Portsmouth and Newport, Rhode Island. Dr. Clarke framed the Portsmouth Compact of 1638 referencing biblical guidelines from his personal bible and was on the committee to obtain patent from England in 1639 and 1642. He acted as the Rhode Island Commissioner in 1648.
In 1651 Dr. Clarke was arrested just outside of Lyn Massachusetts along with church elders Obadiah Holmes and John Crandall for holding an “unlawful service” at the home of a blind elderly fellow Baptist, William Witter. Dr. Clarke was jailed and sentenced to 20 lashes on the whipping post. John Clarke and John Crandall were released but Obadiah Holmes was beaten mercilessly. Dr. Clarke was incensed and resonate that no one has the right to govern, convict or persecute any person for their religious beliefs.
Overcoming personal sacrifices and risk of treason, Dr. Clarke sailed back to London with his wife Elizabeth to act as the appointed Agent for the Colony of Rhode Island. During his 12 years in England protecting the interests of the Colony, he supported himself as a Physician and by mortgaging his property back in Rhode Island.
After 10 attempts, Dr Clarke wrote the Royal Charter of 1663 and secured it’s approval from King Charles II on July 8, 1663 granting Religious and Civil Liberties to the Colony of Rhode Island. This was the first time in the history of the world that a government was established which granted such far reaching religious freedoms and civil liberties.
Even more astonishing, Dr. Clarke was able to achieve this unprecedented accomplishment through his humility, kind nature, sincere diplomacy and unwavering respect, having never said an unkind word or insulting action towards his adversaries or persecutors.
In today’s political and social climate, we hope Dr. Clarke’s story will inspire others how through heart driven focus and positive action it is possible to live together in peace and prosperity regardless of differing beliefs and without overreaching government interference.