Saturday, March 13, 2004

Do social conservatives really say this?

I read this post from Freespace and wondered what would it mean if none of the First Amendment applied to the states. One thing it might mean is that there would be a lot more litigation under state constitutions.

Now, the Virginia Constitution (adopted in 1971) contains the following regarding freedom of religion, in language some of which probably wouldn't be allowed to hang on a courthouse wall:

"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, 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 ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall 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 nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities. And the General Assembly shall not prescribe any religious test whatever, or confer any peculiar privileges or advantages on any sect or denomination, or pass any law requiring or authorizing any religious society, or the people of any district 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 ministry; but it shall be left free to every person to select his religious instructor, and to make for his support such private contract as he shall please."

UPDATE: Then again, people will say anything; in fact, some people might argue that not only does the Fourteenth Amendment not incorporate the First, but also there is no Fourteenth Amendment at all.

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