As with many of the other original
constitutions, this one did not consider Article 8, section 2 to be a
religious test as noted in the declaration of rights section 4. Today in
the minds of a society influenced by socialist thought this would be the
epitome of a religious test. It is clear therefore that religious tests
in the mind of these framers were about Christian sects or denominations
but not general Christian thought or Biblical principles. To put this in
another way. They believed the Bible to be the truth but did not believe
the state had any business in dictating to the people doctrinal issues
that particular Christian denominations accepted and others
Section 1. Whereas the ministers of the gospel
are, by their professions, dedicated to God and the care of souls, and
ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their functions;
therefore no minister of the gospel, or priest of any denomination
whatever, shall be eligible to a seat in either house of the
Section 2. No person who denies the being of God,
or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in
the civil department of the State.
Article 11, Declaration of rights.
Section 1 That all power is inherent in the People and all free Governments
are founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety
and happiness: for the advancement of those ends they have at all times
an unalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish the
Government in such manner as they may think proper.
Section 2 That
Government being instituted for the common benefit, the doctrine of non
resistance against arbitrary Power and oppression is absurd, slavish and
destructive to the good and happiness of mankind.
Section 3 That all men
have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according
to the dictates of their own consciences,
that no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect or support any
place of worship or to maintain any ministry against his consent, that
no human authority can in any case whatever control or interfere with
the rights of conscience; and that no preference shall ever be given by
Law to any religious Establishments or modes of worship.
Section 4 That
no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any
Office or public trust under this State.
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