A Dark Cloud of Providence…
The year is 1662 and the Act of Uniformity has just been passed in England which required Puritan ministers to renounce the ordinations they had received through their respective denominations and also required them to renounce the oath they had taken to the Solemn League and Covenant. In order for these ministers to continue preaching, they would have to do all this and then be ordained under the Anglican bishops. As a result nearly 2000 ministers were ejected from their pulpits on this day 348 years ago. So some of these pastors would preach from outside facing the parish with the doors open so the parishioners could hear them on the inside.
As a response to this, two years later, in 1664, The Conventicle Act was passed which banned Puritan ministers (or any non-conformists) from even preaching in the fields. One year after that the Five Mile Act was enacted to prohibit them from coming within five miles of their former parishes.
I say a dark cloud because whenever God has grown something, say a group of people through a movement, He has implemented persecution as the fire which would temper the steel of orthodoxy. Perhaps we take for granted the freedoms we have.
I would like to point out that a 501c-3 tax exempt corporation is not a church. It is a corporation, an entity of the state, which the state governs. We have given away the freedom that our founding fathers had sewn into the fabric of our constitution and we have let it go, all for a tax exemption that is actually granted to religious organizations by the first amendment.