Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Proposed Amendments From the Original States: Religion

Of the seven states which proposed constitutional amendments at the time of their ratification of the Constitution, five of them proposed amendments to protect religious freedom:

Virginia, North Carolina, Rhode Island:

IV. That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, and not by force and violence ; and therefore all men have a natural, equal, and unalienable right to the [free] exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience ; and that no particular religious sect or society ought to be favored or established, by law, in preference to others. [Note: Rhode Island omitted “free,” and North Carolina and Virginia placed the word “equal” before “natural.”]

New York:

That the People have an equal, natural, and unalienable right, freely and peaceably to Exercise their Religion according to the dictates of Conscience, and that no Religious Sect or Society ought to be favoured or established by Law in preference of others.

New Hampshire:

Eleventh, Congress shall make no Laws touching Religion, or to infringe the rights of Conscience.

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