The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State
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State Constitution (Religious Sections) - Virginia

Please note that we have excerpted only those sections dealing with religion
Research and editing by Jim Allison

VIRGINIA DECLARATION OF RIGHTS--1776

(Written by George Mason and James Madison)

SECTION 16, 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.

CONSTITUTION OF VIRGINIA--1830

ARTICLE I

( As originally written and passed, the Declaration of Rights of 1776 was not part of the Constitution of 1776. Therefore Article I of the Virginia State Constitution of 1830 stated:)

The declaration of rights made on 12 June, 1776, by the representatives of the good people of Virginia, assembled in full and free convention, which pertained to them and their posterity, as the basis and foundation of government, requiring in the opinion of this convention, no amendment, shall be prefixed to this constitution, and have the same relation thereto as it had to the former constitution of the commonwealth.

VIRGINIA DECLARATION OF RIGHTS

SECTION 16, 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.

ARTICLE III

SECTION 11 The privilege of the writ of HABEUS CORPUS shall not in any case be suspended. The legislature shall not pass any bill of attainder, or any EX POST FACTO law, or any law impairing the obligation of contracts; or any law whereby private property shall be taken for public uses without just compensation; or any law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.

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 that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.

And the legislature shall not prescribe any religious test whatsoever; nor confer any peculiar privileges or advantages on any one sect or denomination; nor 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 for 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 make for his support such private contract as he shall please.