Empowering "We the People"

1st Amendment

On the Separation of church and state issue: What the 1st Amendment really means as it was predicated upon the Constitution of the State of Virginia Bill of Rights

Constitution of the State of Virginia Bill of Rights
Article 1
12 June 1776
Sec. 16. That religion or the duty which we owe our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and, therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other. No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or minis- try whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shll otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities. And the General Assembly shall not prescribe any religious test whatever, or confer any peculiar privileges or advan- tages on any sect odenomination, orpass any law requiring authorizing any religious society, or the people of any dis- trict within this Commonwealth, to levy on themselves or others, any tax for the erection or repair of any house of public worship, or for the support of any church or minis-try; but it shall be left free to every person to select his religious instructor, and to make for his support such pri-vate contract as he shall please. 


On the establishment of religion: What the Constitution really says


Alan Keyes

Aug. 26, 2003

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