PORTSMOUTH, R.I. \u2014 Local historian Fred Zilian will host a lecture in April entitled "Roger Williams: Founding Father of Religious Freedom in America." Find out more information here.\n\nThe lecture will be held Thursday, April 4, at 6:30 p.m. at the Portsmouth Free Public Library.\n\nEntitled: \u201cRoger Williams: Founding Father of Religious Freedom in America,\u201d this program is co-sponsored and funded by the Portsmouth Historical Society, and is free and open to the public.\n\nDue to space constraints, please sign up on the library's website www.portsmouthlibrary.org\u00a0or by calling the library at 683-9457.\n\nThis talk will examine the life and ideas of Roger Williams, described by Cotton Mather, a preacher in the late 17th\u00a0century, as: \u201cthe first rebel against the divine church [of England] established in the wilderness.\u201d\u00a0The Second Amendment of our Constitution enshrines this rebel\u2019s idea of religious freedom: \u201cCongress shall make no law respecting an\u00a0establishment\u00a0of religion, nor prohibit the free exercise thereof.\u201d\nRoger Williams was the first defender of this idea in the New World, what he called \u201csoul liberty.\u201d He used the metaphor, \u201ca wall of separation\u201d between church and state, a phrase which Thomas Jefferson eventually used in correspondence over a century later after Williams died. This idea has become embedded in American thinking. He also wrote the first book on Native American culture and language and championed the idea that in God\u2019s eyes the Native Americans were equal to the Europeans.\n\nFred Zilian, Ph.D., (zilianblog.com) teaches history and politics at Salve Regina University. He is also an opinion contributor to The Hill, a contributing editor to The History News Network, and a columnist for the Newport Daily News.