In that notable letter, so characteristically terse, and yet with it all, magnificent, George Washington remarked to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport that "it is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights." The "natural rights" here were the rights of "the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land" to live their Jewish lives with their rituals of worship. And in a biblical image, "every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid." Several years earlier James Madison invoked a comparable notion of the freedom of religion as nothing less than a natural right. In his "Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments" (1785), Madison insisted that "this right [of religious freedom] is in its nature an unalienable right."Click on the link below to read the entire article.