A one-time devout adherent of Congregationalism, Backus was a conciliatory man who tried to heal the clefts of religious division he saw opening all about him. Despite his sponsorship of the Baptist faith, Backus remained supportive of his Congregational friends and neighbors and felicitous of their well-being, while speaking out for "Liberty of Conscience" for all faiths.
The defining episode in Elder Backus' development as a religious libertarian was undoubtedly the imprisonment of his widowed mother in Connecticut "for adopting religious sentiments contrary to law," and ever afterward Backus would remain a staunch defender of the rights of religious dissenters.
Sadly, Backus did not live long enough to see the acceptance of religious tolerance for all as a foundation stone of democracy. It was not until the 1830s that the famous Dedham case disestablished Congregationalism in Massachusetts as the "state religion" and established, in principle, religious liberty and tolerance for all faiths, a cause for which Backus had labored his entire adult life.
Though Backus died long before this outcome, his life was full of purpose and continues to provide us with hope. As his epitaph in the Titicut Cemetery at North Middleborough reads: "His zeal and persevering industry in the cause of civil and religious liberty through a long, laborious life is still manifest ... "