HALE: Mr. Proctor, your house is not a church; your theology must tell you that.
PROCTOR: It does, sir, it does; and it tells me that a minister may pray to God without he have golden candlesticks upon the altar.
HALE: What golden candlesticks?
PROCTOR: Since we built the church there were pewter candlesticks upon the altar; Francis Nurse made them, y’know, and a sweeter hand never touched the metal. But Parris came, and for twenty week he preach nothin' but golden candlesticks until he had them. I labor the earth from dawn of day to blink of night, and I tell you true, when I look to heaven and see my money glaring at his elbows—it hurt my prayer, sir, it hurt my prayer. I think, sometimes, the man dreams cathedrals, not clapboard meetin' houses.
HALE, thinks, then: And yet, Mister, a Christian on Sabbath Day must be in church. Pause. Tell me—you have three children?
PROCTOR: Aye. Boys.
HALE: How comes it that only two are baptized?
PROCTOR, starts to speak, then stops, then, as though unable to restrain this: I like it not that Mr. Parris should lay his hand upon my baby. I see no light of God in that man. I'll not conceal it.
HALE: I must say it, Mr. Proctor; that is not for you to decide. The man's ordained, therefore the light of God is in him.
PROCTOR, flushed with resentment but trying to smile: What's your suspicion, Mr. Hale?
HALE: No, no, I have no—
Proctor: I nailed the roof upon the church, I hung the door—
HALE: Oh, did you! That's a good sign, then.
PROCTOR: It may be I have been too quick to bring the man to book, but you cannot think we ever desired the destruction of religion. I think that's in your mind, is it not? (II.219-232)
Instead of conforming to the outward signs of religion, Proctor can’t stand greed and hypocrisy of the Reverend Parris—and so he stays home. Does the play suggest that characters can get along better without religion?