2. Washington intended religious freedom in the United States to apply to all religions.
Shortly after his inauguration as president, religious communities began writing to Washington. He told these groups that the only being to whom Americans owed an explanation of their religious beliefs was God. When the Virginia Baptists wrote about their qualms that the new Constitution did not specifically guarantee freedom of religion, they went on to say that they knew they were in good hands with Washington at the head of the government. The President responded that he would never have signed the Constitution if he thought it would endanger the religious rights of any group.
There are some who believe that Washington was only speaking of religious freedom in regard to Christian denominations, but did not intend it to apply to other religions. To a Jewish congregation in Rhode Island, he noted that,
It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.