settlers began to arrive in the New World, they established colonies and
populated areas that were favorable to settle. In time, even while under
British control, laws were set up so that society could run smoothly. As
you will see, the general theme of the rules was, "God is all and His
rules rule all."
Colony of Carolina in 1650, was originally named "Carolana" or "Charles'land,"
after King Charles I of England. It had been granted to Sir Robert Heath
in 1629, having originally been part of Virginia.
(Virginia was named after the "Virgin Queen" Elizabeth I by Sir Walter
Raleigh, who explored the area and attempted to found a settlement on
Roanoke Island, April 9, 1585. On August 13, 1587, the members of the
colony converted the Indian Manteo and he was baptized into the
Christian faith. That same month the first child was born in America,
and she was baptized Virginia Dare. The Roanoke Colony was unsuccessful
and later became known as the "Lost Colony.")
wasn't until the 1650's that English colonists began settling the area
permanently. The first governor, William Sayle, was a Nonconformist and
allowed religious toleration for all denominations: Calvinists and
Baptists from England and parts of New England, Huguenots, French
Protestants, from France, Episcopalians, Scotch-Irish Presbyterians,
Lutherans, German Reformed, Moravians, etc.
many Christians that began to settle in North Carolina beginning in
1653, the Quaker missionaries were among the most notable, with even
George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, preaching there. At a later date,
the Quaker family of Daniel Boone, along with other Quaker families,
pioneered the Yadkin River Valley along the North Carolina frontier.
first Baptist congregation was formed there in 1727, followed later by
the Methodist congregations, who recognized Negro ministers and preached
strongly against slavery.
Charter of Carolina, dated in 1663, was granted by King Charles II to
Sir William Berkeley and the seven other lord proprietors, (initially
granted by King Charles I to Sir Robert Heath in 1629). It stated:
Being excited with a laudable and pious zeal for the propagation of the
Christian faith.... [They] have humbly besought leave of us... To
transport and make an ample colony... Unto a certain country... In the
parts of America not yet cultivated or planted, and only inhabited by
some barbarous people, who have no knowledge of Almighty God.
Fundamental Constitutions of the Carolinas 1663, was drawn up by the
famous philosopher, John Locke, at the request of Sir William Berkeley
and the seven other lord proprietors of the colony. It stated:
man shall be permitted to be a freeman of Carolina, or to have any
estate of habitation within it that doth not acknowledge a God, and that
God is publicly and solemnly to be worshiped.
Fundamental Orders (Constitution) of Connecticut January 14, 1639, was
the first constitution written in America, instituting a provisional
government and later serving as the model for the United States
Constitution. It was penned by Roger Ludlow in 1638, after hearing a
sermon by Thomas Hooker, the famous Puritan minister, who, along with
his congregation, helped to found Connecticut. So important was this
work that Connecticut became known as "The Constitution State."
committee convened to frame the orders and was charged to make the laws,
As near the law of God as they can be.
Connecticut towns of Hartford, Wethersfield, and Windsor adopted the
constitution, January 14, 1639, which stated in its Preamble:
Forasmuch as it has pleased the Almighty God by the wise disposition of
His divine providence so to order and dispose of things that we the
inhabitants and residents of Windsor, Hartford and Wethersfield and now
cohabiting and dwelling in and upon the River Connecticut and the lands
well knowing when a people are gathered together the word of God
requires, that to meinteine the peace and union of such a people, there
should be an orderly and decent government established according to God,
to order and dispose of the affairs of all the people at all seasons as
occasion shall require;
therefore associate and conjoin ourselves to be as one public State or
Commonwealth, and do, for ourselves and our successors and such as shall
be adjoined to us at any time hereafter, enter into Combination and
Confederation together, to meinteine and presearve the libberty and
purity of the Gospell of our Lord Jesus which we now professe...
Which, according to the truth of the said Gospell, is now practised
amongst us; as allso, in our civill affaires to be guided and governed
according to such lawes, rules, orders, and decrees.
Articles of the Constitution of Connecticut:
Article I That the Scriptures hold forth a perfect rule for the
direction and government of all men in all duties which they are to
perform to God and men, as well in families and commonwealths as in
matters of the church.
Article II That as in matters which concern the gathering and ordering
of a church, so likewise in all public offices which concern civil
order, as the choice of magistrates and officers, making and repealing
laws, dividing allotments of inheritance, and all things of like nature,
they would all be governed by those rules which the Scripture held forth
Article III That all those who had desired to be received free planters
had settled in the plantation with a purpose, resolution, and desire
that they might be admitted into church fellowship according to Christ.
Article IV That all the free planters held themselves bound to establish
such civil order as might best conduce to the securing of the purity and
peace of the ordinance to themselves, and their posterity according to
Following the adopting of the Constitution, the governor of the Colony
was given the solemn charge by Rev. Mr. Davenport, from Deuteronomy 1:
"And I charge your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between
your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his brother,
and the stranger that is with him. Ye shall not be afraid of the face of
man; for the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you,
bring it unto me, and I will hear it."
General Court of Connecticut 1639, established under the Constitution of
Connecticut, issued the order:
That God's word should be the only rule for ordering the affairs of
government in this commonwealth.
of Connecticut 1647, along with the Colony of Massachusetts passed the
Old Deluder Satan Law to prevent illiteracy and to prevent the abuse of
power over a population ignorant of Scriptures, as had been the case in
Europe. The law stated:
being one chiefe project of that old deluder, Sathan, to keepe men from
the knowledge of the scriptures, as in former time....
is therefore ordered... [That] after the Lord hath increased [the
settlement] to the number of fifty howshoulders, [they] shall forthwith
appoint one within theire towne, to teach all such children as shall
resorte to him, to write and read....
it is further ordered, that where any towne shall increase to the number
of one hundred families or howshoulders, they shall sett up a grammar
schoole for the university.
Constitution of the State of Connecticut (until 1818), contained the
People of this State... By the Providence of God... Hath the sole and
exclusive right of governing themselves as a free, sovereign, and
independent State... And forasmuch as the free fruition of such
liberties and privileges as humanity, civility, and Christianity call
for, as is due to every man in his place and proportion... Hath ever
been, and will be the tranquility and stability of Churches and
Commonwealth; and the denial thereof, the disturbances, if not the ruin
State of Connecticut 1785-1786, enacted in the Legislature the
arrangement for the sale of the Western Reserve Lands, which included a
provision that there should be reserved in each township: 500 acres for
the gospel, 500 acres for schools and 240 acres: To be granted in fee
simple to the first gospel minister who shall settle in such town.
Constitution of the State of Delaware (until 1792), stated:
Article XXII Every person who shall be chosen a member of either house,
or appointed to any office or place of trust... Shall... Make and
subscribe the following declaration, to wit: "I _____ do profess faith
in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy
Ghost, one God, blessed for evermore; I do acknowledge the holy
scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be given by divine
Delaware's Constitution also stated:
is] the duty of all men frequently to assemble together for the public
worship of the Author of the Universe.... [Although] no man ought to be
compelled to attend any religious worship.
Constitution of Illinois 1870, stated:
the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the
civil, political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted
us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to
secure and transmit the same unimpaired to succeeding generation...
Kentucky Resolutions 1798, stated:
power over the freedom of religion... [Is] delegated to the United
States by the Constitution.
Baltimore Cecilius Calvert (1605-1675), the Second Lord Baltimore, was
the founder of the Colony of Maryland, named in honor of Queen Henrietta
Maria. In 1632 he received the Charter of Maryland from King Charles I,
(it had originally been issued to his father George Calvert, first Lord
Baltimore, who was the Secretary of State for King James I, but he died
before he could embark). The Charter of Maryland declares:
well beloved and right trusty subject Coecilius Calvert, Baron of
Baltimore... Being animated with a laudable, and pious Zeal for
extending the Christian Religion... Hath humbly besought Leave of Us
that he may transport... A numerous Colony of the English Nation, to a
certain Region... Having no Knowledge of the Divine Being.
March 25, 1634, Leonard Calvert (1606-1647), the younger brother of Lord
Baltimore Cecilius Calvert, arrived in the Chesapeake Bay area with two
ships, the Ark and the Dove. Instated by his brother to lead the first
expedition and function as governor, Leonard Calvert, along with over
230 emigrants, founded the first capital, named St. Mary's City. One of
the colonists, Father White, described their arrival:
celebrated mass... This had never been done before in this part of the
world. After we had completed, we took on our shoulders a great cross,
which we had hewn out of a tree, and advancing in order to the appointed
place, with the assistance of the Governor and his associates... We
erected a trophy to Christ the Savior.
newly chartered colony was founded initially as a refuge for persecuted
Catholics, but then in 1649 the famous Toleration Act was issued which
gave Christians of all denominations religious liberty. The form of oath
prescribed in Governor Stone's time avouched:
do further swear that I will not myself, nor any other person, directly
or indirectly, trouble, molest, or discountenance any person whatever,
in the said province, professing to believe in Jesus Christ.
passed by the Assembly in eulogy of Leonard Calvert, three years after
Great and manifold are the benefits wherewith Almighty God hath blessed
this colony, first brought and landed within the province of Maryland,
at your lordship's charge, and continued by your care and industry, in
the happy restitution of a blessed peace unto us, being lately wasted by
a miserable dissension and unhappy war.
more estimable are the blessings poured on this province, in planting
Christianity among a people that knew not God, nor had heard of Christ.
All which, we recognize and acknowledge to be done and performed, next
under God, by your lordship's pious intention towards the advancement
and propagation of the Christian religion, and the peace and happiness
of this colony and province.
Maryland Toleration Act April 21, 1649, stated:
it therefore... Enacted... That no person or persons whatsoever within
Professing to believe in Jesus Christ shall... Henceforth be any ways
troubled, molested (or disapproved of )... In respect of his or her
religion nor in the free exercise thereof...
Constitution of the State of Maryland August 14, 1776, stated:
the people of the state of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God for our
civil and religious liberty...
Article XXXV That no other test or qualification ought to be required,
on admission to any office of trust or profit, than such oath of support
and fidelity to this State and such oath of office, as shall be directed
by this Convention, or the Legislature of this State, and a declaration
of a belief in the Christian religion.
Article XXXVI That the manner of administering an oath to any person,
ought to be such, as those of the religious persuasion, profession, or
denomination, of which such person is one, generally esteem to most
effectual confirmation, by the attestation of the Divine Being.
That, as it is the duty of every man to worship God is such a manner as
he thinks most acceptable to him; all persons professing the Christian
religion, are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty;
Wherefore no person ought by any law to be molested... On account of his
religious practice; unless, under the color [pretense] of religion, any
man shall disturb the good order, peace or safety of the State, or shall
infringe the laws of morality... Yet the Legislature may, in their
discretion, lay a general and equal tax, for the support of the
Christian religion. (Until 1851)
1851, the Constitution of the State of Maryland declared that no other
test or qualification for admission to any office of trust or profit
shall be required than the official oath and:
declaration of belief in the Christian religion; and if the party shall
profess to be a Jew the declaration shall be of his belief in a future
state of rewards and punishments.
1864, the Constitution of the State of Maryland required all State
officers to make:
declaration of belief in the Christian religion, or of the existence of
God, and in a future state of rewards and punishments.
Supreme Court of Maryland 1799, in the case of Runkel v. Winemiller,
rendered its opinion:
Religion is of general and public concern, and on its support depend, in
great measure, the peace and good order of government, the safety and
happiness of the people. By our form of government, the Christian
religion is the established religion; and all sects and denominations of
Christians are placed upon the same equal footing, and are equally
entitled to protection in their religious liberty.
graduate of Harvard, John Adams became a member of the Continental
Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He is
distinguished for having personally urged Thomas Jefferson to write the
Declaration, as well as having recommended George Washington as the
Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. He was the main author of
the Constitution of Massachusetts in 1780.
Ames (1758-1808), was a Congressman from Massachusetts in the First
Session of the Congress of the United States, during the time the Bill
of Rights were being formulated. It was Fisher Ames who had suggested
the wording of the First Amendment, which was adopted by the House:
Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or to prevent the free
exercise thereof, or to infringe the rights of conscience.
Provincial Congress of Massachusetts October 22, 1774, which met in
Boston, began to voice their serious concerns, as President John Hancock
think it is incumbent upon this people to humble themselves before God
on account of their sins, for He hath been pleased in His righteous
judgement to suffer a great calamity to befall us, as the present
controversy between Great Britain and the Colonies.
[And] also to implore the Divine Blessing upon us, that by the
assistance of His grace, we may be enabled to reform whatever is amiss
among us, that so God may be pleased to continue to us the blessings we
enjoy, and remove the tokens of His displeasure, by causing harmony and
union to be restored between Great Britain and the Colonies."
Provincial Congress of Massachusetts 1774, in addressing the inhabitants
of Massachusetts Bay, resolved:
Resistance to tyranny becomes the Christian and social duty of each
individual.... Continue steadfast, and with a proper sense of your
dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no
man ought to take from us.
Langdon (1723-1797), the president of Harvard University, was a member
of the New Hampshire Convention to ratify the U.S. Constitution in 1788,
as well as an original member of the American Academy of Arts and
Sciences. In May of 1775, Harvard President Samuel Langdon was invited
to give an address to the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts. In it he
New Hampshire, the constitution of which State has a similar declaration
of [religious] rights, the open denial of the being and existence of God
or of the Supreme Being is prohibited by statute, and declared to be
Exeter, New Hampshire August 4, 1639, the colonists defined the purpose
for government, stating:
Considering with ourselves the holy will of God and our own necessity,
that we should not live without wholesome laws and civil government
among us, of which we are altogether destitute, do, in the name of
Christ and in the sight of God, combine ourselves together to erect and
set up among us such governments as shall be, to our best discerning,
agreeable to the will of God...
Constitution of the State of New Hampshire 1784, 1792, required senators
and representatives to be of the Protestant religion. (In force until
Part One, Article I, Section V. Every individual has a natural and
unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own
conscience, and reason...
Article I, Section VI. And every denomination of Christians demeaning
themselves quietly, and as good citizens of the state, shall be equally
under the protection of the laws. And no subordination of any one sect
of denomination to another, shall ever be established by law.
New Haven Colony Charter, April 3, 1644, adopted the rules for governing
the courts of the New Haven Colony, stating:
judicial laws of God, as they were delivered by Moses... [Are to] be a
rule to all the courts in this jurisdiction...
Governor Basse of the New Jersey Colony, 1697, proclaimed:
being very necessary for the good and prosperity of this province that
our principal care be, in obedience to the laws of God, to endeavor as
much as in us lyeth the extirpation of all sorts of looseness and
profanity, and to unite in the fear and love of God and one another,..
Take due care that all laws made and provided for the suppression of
vice and encouraging of religion and virtue, particularly the observance
of the Lord's day, be duly put into execution."
Inscribed on the Provincial Seal of New Jersey was Proverbs 14:34 which
states, Righteousness exalteth a nation.
Constitution of the State of New Jersey, 1844, reads:
the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for the
civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy,
and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and
transmit the same unimpaired to succeeding generations, do ordain and
establish this Constitution.
Colonial Legislature of New York Colony, 1665, passed an act stating:
Whereas, The public worship of God is much discredited for want of
painful [laborious] and able ministers to instruct the people in the
true religion, it is ordered that a church shall be built in each
parish, capable of holding two hundred persons; that ministers of every
church shall preach every sunday, and pray for the king, queen, the Duke
of York, and the royal family; and to marry persons after legal
publication of license...
Sunday is not to be profaned by traveling, by laborers, or vicious
Church wardens to report twice a year all misdemeanors, such as
swearing, profaneness, Sabbath-breaking, drunkenness, fornication,
adultery, and all such abominable sins.
Constitution of the State of New York, 1777, stated:
free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without
discrimination or preference, shall forever hereafter be allowed, within
this State, to all mankind: Provided, that the liberty of conscience,
hereby granted, shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of
Preamble of the Constitution of the State of New York, 1846, reads:
the people of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our
freedom: in order to secure its blessings, do establish this
Chester County, New York, August 23, 1831, as related in The New York
Spectator, reported that a judge refused to admit the evidence of a
man who declared he did not believe in God, on the ground that the
witness had destroyed beforehand all confidence of the court in his
testimony. The newspaper explained:
court of commons pleas of Chester county (New York), a few days since
rejected a witness who declared his disbelief in the existence of God.
The presiding judge remarked, that he had not before been aware that
there was a man living who did not believe in the existence of God; that
this belief constituted the sanction of all testimony in a court of
justice: and that he knew of no cause in a Christian country, where a
witness had been permitted to testify without such belief.
Supreme Court of New York, stated in the case of Lindenmuller v. The
People, 33 Barbour, 561:
Christianity... Is in fact, and ever has been, the religion of the
people. This fact is everywhere prominent in all our civil and political
history, and has been, from the first, recognized and acted upon by the
people, as well as by constitutional conventions, by legislatures and by
courts of justice.
Supreme Court of New York 1958, stated in the case of Baer v. Kolmorgen,
181 N. Y. S. 2d. 230, 237 (Sup. Ct. N. Y. 1958):
Much has been written in recent years concerning Thomas Jefferson's
reference in 1802 to "a wall of separation between church and State."...
Jefferson's figure of speech has received so much attention that one
would almost think at times that it is to be found somewhere in our
Supreme Court of New York December 30, 1993, in the Appellate Division,
stated in the case of Alfonso v. Fernandez, that the public schools in
New York City are:
Prohibited from dispensing condoms to unemancipated minor students
without the prior consent of their parents or guardians, or without an
[The condom distribution plan] is tantamount to condoning promiscuity
and sexual permissiveness, and that the exposure to condoms and their
ready availability may encourage sexual relations among adolescents at
an earlier age and / or with more frequency, thereby weakening their
moral and religious values....
[The court agrees that] supplying condoms to students upon request has
absolutely nothing to do with education, [but is a] health service....
[Parents should not be] compelled by state authority to send their
children into an environment where they will be permitted, even
encouraged, to obtain a contraceptive device, which the parents disfavor
as a matter of private belief....
amici miss the point. The primary purpose of the Board of Education is
not to serve as a health provider. Its reason for being is education. No
judicial or legislative authority directs or permits teachers and other
public school educators to dispense condoms to minor, unemancipated
students without the knowledge or consent of their parents. Nor do we
believe that they have any inherent authority to do so....
[Parents] enjoy a well-recognized liberty interest in rearing and
educating their children to accord with their own views, [citing U. S.
Supreme Court cases from the 1920's, Pierce v. Society of Sisters and
Meyer v. Nebraska] The Constitution gives parents the right to regulate
their children's sexual behavior as best they can, [a contraceptive
decision] is clearly within the purview of the petitioners'
constitutionally protected right to rear their children....
[The AIDS problem cannot force parents] to surrender a parenting right
specifically, to influence and guide the sexual activity of their
children without state interference....
threat of AIDS cannot summarily obliterate this Nation's fundamental
values.... We conclude that the condom availability component of the
program violates the petitioners' constitutional due process rights to
direct the upbringing of their children.
North Carolina, Mecklenburg County Resolution of May 20, 1775, reads:
hereby declare ourselves a free and independent people; are, and of a
right ought to be, a sovereign and self-governing association, under
control of no power other than that of our God and the general
government of Congress.
Constitution of the State of North Carolina 1776, stated:
There shall be no establishment of any one religious church or
denomination in this State in preference to any other.
Article XXXII That no person who shall deny the being of God, or the
truth of the Protestant religion, or the divine authority of the Old or
New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with
the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any
office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this
State. (Until 1876)
1835 the word "Protestant" was changed to "Christian."
1868, among the persons disqualified for office were all persons who
shall deny the being of Almighty God.
Preamble of the Constitution of the State of North Carolina, reads:
the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the
sovereign ruler of nations, for the preservation of the American Union
and the existence of our civil, political, and religious liberties, and
acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those
blessings to us and our posterity, do, for the more certain security
thereof and for the better government of this State, ordain and
establish this constitution.
Constitution of the State of Ohio, November 1, 1802, stated:
Article VIII, Section 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being
essentially necessary to the good government and the happiness of
mankind, schools and the means of instruction shall forever be
encouraged by legislative provision.
motto of the State of Ohio, states, With God All Things are Possible
State of Ohio February 18, 1992, declared:
STATE OF OHIO Executive Department Office of the Governor COLUMBUS
WHEREAS, the National Day of Prayer is a tradition first proclaimed by
the Continental Congress in 1775; and
WHEREAS, In 1988, legislation was unanimously ratified by both Houses of
Congress and signed by President Ronald Reagan stating that the National
Day of Prayer was to be observed on the first Thursday of every May; and
WHEREAS, President George Bush has set aside May 7, 1992, as the 41st
consecutive observance of the National Day of Prayer; and
WHEREAS, it is fitting and proper to give thanks to the Lord by
observing this day in Ohio when all may acknowledge our blessing and
express gratitude for them, while recognizing the need for strengthening
religious and moral values in our state and nation;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE V. VOINOVICH, Governor of the State of Ohio,
do hereby proclaim May 7, 1992, as
DAY OF PRAYER IN OHIO throughout the state of Ohio. I urge all citizens
to observe this day in ways appropriate to its importance and
Testimony Whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name and caused the
Great Seal of the State of Ohio to be affixed at Columbus, this
eighteenth day of February in the year of our Lord, one thousand nine
hundred and ninety two
Governor of the State of Ohio
Secretary of State
Charter of Pennsylvania 1681, granted to William Penn by King Charles II
of England, consisted of all the land between Maryland and New York.
Added to this the following year was the area of Delaware, which was
given him by the Duke of York. William Penn had named it "Sylvania"
meaning "woodland," but King Charles changed it to "Pennsylvania." The
goal of the plantation, as stated in the Charter, was:
reduce the savage natives by gentle and just manners to the Love of
Civil Societe and Christian religion.
Fundamental Constitutions of Pennsylvania, 1682, written by William
Penn, formulated the government of the colony, stating:
Considering that it is impossible that any People or Government should
ever prosper, where men render not unto God, that which is God's, as
well as to Caesar, that which is Caesar's;
also perceiving that disorders and Mischiefs that attend those places
where force is used in matters of faith and worship, and seriously
reflecting upon the tenure of the new and Spiritual Government, and that
both Christ did not use force and that he did expressly forbid it in his
holy Religion, as also that the Testimony of his blessed Messengers was,
that the weapons of the Christian warfare were not Carnall but
Therefore, in reverence to God the Father of lights and spirits, the
Author as well as object of all divine knowledge, faith and worship, I
do hereby declare for me and myn and establish it for the first
fundamental of the Government of my Country;
That every Person that does or shall reside therein shall have and enjoy
the Free possession of his or her faith and exercise of worship towards
such way and manner As every Person shall in Conscience believe is most
acceptable to God and so long as every such Person useth not this
Christian liberty to Licentiousness, that is to say to speak loosely and
prophainly of God, Christ or Religion, or to Committ any evil in their
Conversation [lifestyle], he or she shall be protected in the enjoyment
of the aforesaid Christian liberty by the civill Magistrate....
Great Law of Pennsylvania, April 25, 1682, was the first legislative act
of Pennsylvania. It proclaimed:
Whereas the glory of Almighty God and the good of mankind is the reason
and the end of government, and, therefore government itself is a
venerable ordinance of God.... [There shall be established] laws as
shall best preserve true Christian and civil liberty, in opposition to
all unchristian, licentious, and unjust practices, whereby God may have
his due, and Caesar his due, and the people their due, from tyranny and
Charter of Privileges of Pennsylvania 1701, granted by William Penn to
the province of Pennsylvania, stated:
Almighty God being the only Lord of Conscience... And Author as well as
object of all Divine Knowledge, faith and worship, who only doth
enlighten the minds and persuade and convince the understandings of
do hereby grant and declare: that no person or persons, inhabiting in
this province or territory who shall confess and acknowledge our
Almighty God and Creator, Upholder and Ruler of the world; and profess
him or themselves obliged to live quietly under civil government, shall
be in any case molested or prejudiced in his or her person or estate....
that all persons who also profess to believe in Jesus Christ, the Savior
of the World, shall be capable to serve this government in any capacity,
both legislatively or executively.
people can be truly happy, though under the greatest enjoyment of civil
liberties, if abridged of... Their religious profession and worship....
Constitution of the State of Pennsylvania stated:
the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings
of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance, do
ordain and establish this Constitution....
Frame of Government, Section 10. And each member [of the legislature],
before he takes his seat, shall make and subscribe the following
declaration, viz: "I do believe in one God, the Creator and Governour of
the universe, the rewarder of the good and punisher of the wicked, and I
do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given
by Divine Inspiration."
Charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, July 8, 1663, was
granted by King Charles II to Roger Williams. In 1636, Williams left
Massachusetts with his followers, for the purpose of religious freedom,
and founded Providence Plantation. It was there they established the
First Baptist Church in America in 1639. The colonial patent of 1644 was
confirmed by the Royal Charter of 1663, which read:
submit our persons, lives, and estates unto our Lord Jesus Christ, the
King of kings and Lord of lords and to all those perfect and most
absolute laws of His given us in His Holy Word.
That they, pursueing, with peaceable and loyall mindes, sober, serious
and religious intentions, of godlie edifieing themselves, and one
another, in the holie Christian ffaith and worshipp... Together with the
gaineing over and conversione of the poore ignorant Indian natives... To
sincere professions and obedienc of the same faith and worship.... A
most flourishing civill state may stand and best bee maintained....
Grounded upon gospell principles.
Seal of the State of Rhode Island, 1797, reflected the sentiments of the
state's 69,122 persons population. On the seal, over the picture of an
anchor, is inscribed the motto: IN GOD WE HOPE.
Constitution of the State of Rhode Island, 1842, stated:
the people of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,
grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He
hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing
upon our endeavors to secure and to transmit the same unimpaired to
succeeding generations, do ordain and establish this constitution of
Constitution of South Carolina, 1778, stated:
the people of the State of South Carolina,... Grateful for our
liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
Article XXXVIII. That all persons and religious societies who
acknowledge that there is one God, and a future state of rewards and
punishments, and that God is publicly to be worshipped, shall be freely
tolerated.... That all denominations of Christian [s]... In this State,
demeaning themselves peaceably and faithfully, shall enjoy equal
religious and civil privileges.
Supreme Court of South Carolina, 1846, in the case of City of Charleston
v. S. A. Benjamin, cites an individual who willfully broke the Ordinance
person or persons whatsoever shall publicly expose to sale, or sell...
Any goods, wares or merchandise whatsoever upon the Lords' day.
prosecuting attorney astutely explained the premise, stating:
Christianity is a part of the common law of the land, with liberty of
conscience to all. It has always been so recognized.... If Christianity
is a part of the common law, its disturbance is punishable at common
law. The U.S. Constitution allows it as a part of the common law.
President is allowed ten days [to sign a bill], with the exception of
Sunday. The Legislature does not sit, public offices are closed, and the
Government recognizes the day in all things.... The observance of Sunday
is one of the usages of the common law, recognized by our U.S. And State
Governments.... The Sabbath is still to be supported;
Christianity is part and parcel of the common law.... Christianity has
reference to the principles of right and wrong.... It is the foundation
of those morals and manners upon which our society is formed; it is
their basis. Remove this and they would fall.... [Morality] has grown
upon the basis of Christianity.
Supreme Court of South Carolina delivered its decision, declaring:
Lord's day, the day of the Resurrection, is to us, who are called
Christians, the day of rest after finishing a new creation. It is the
day of the first visible triumph over death, hell and the grave! It was
the birth day of the believer in Christ, to whom and through whom it
opened up the way which, by repentance and faith, leads unto everlasting
life and eternal happiness! On that day we rest, and to us it is the
Sabbath of the Lord its decent observance, in a Christian community, is
that which ought to be expected....
What gave to us this noble safeguard of religious toleration? It was
Christianity.... But this toleration, thus granted, is a religious
toleration; it is the free exercise and enjoyment of religious
profession and worship, with two provisos, one of which, that which
guards against acts of licentiousness, testifies to the Christian
construction, which this section should receive!
What are acts "of licentiousness" within the meaning of this section?
Must they not be such public acts, as are calculated to shock the moral
sense of the community where they take place? The orgies of Bacchus,
among the ancients, were not offensive! At a later day, the Carnivals of
Venice went off without note or observation. Such could not be allowed
now! Why? Public opinion, based on Christianity morality, would not
What constitutes the standard of good morals? Is it not Christianity?
There certainly is none other. Say that cannot be appealed to, and I
don't know what would be good morals. The day of moral virtue in which
we live would, in an instant, if that standard were abolished, lapse
into the dark and murky night of Pagan immorality.
the Courts over which we preside, we daily acknowledge Christianity as
the most solemn part of our administration. A Christian witness, having
no religious scruple about placing his hand upon the book, is sworn upon
the holy Evangelists the books of the New Testament, which testify of
our Savior's birth, life, death, and resurrection; this is so common a
matter, that it is little thought of as an evidence of the part which
Christianity has in the common law.
agree fully to what is beautifully and appropriately said in Updegraph
v. The Commonwealth... Christianity, general Christianity, is, and
always has been, a part of the common law: "not Christianity with an
established church... But Christianity with liberty of conscience to all
Charter of Virginia April 10, 1606, was granted by King James I to those
who would endeavor to settle "Jamestown Colony" in Virginia:
greatly commending and graciously accepting of their Desires for the
Furtherance of so noble a Work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty
God, hereafter tend to the Glory of His Divine Majesty, in propagating
of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and
miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God, and may in
time bring the Infidels and Savages, living in those Parts, to human
Civility, and to a settled and quiet Government...
Colony of Virginia, May 14, 1607, was planted with settlers who had left
England in December of 1606. Their settlement at Jamestown was the first
permanent settlement in North America. Sir Walter Raleigh, who was
responsible for naming Virginia after the "Virgin Queen" Elizabeth I,
had attempted a previous settlement in 1585, but it proved unsuccessful.
colonists' first act, after having landed at Cape Henry, April 27, 1607,
was to erect a large wooden cross and hold a prayer meeting. Their
minister, the Reverend Robert Hunt, conducted this premier service
honoring the Lord for the first time in this new land. Later that year,
at Reverend Robert Hunt's death, the settlers gave this tribute to him:
1607. To the glory of God and in memory of the Reverend Robert Hunt,
Presbyter, appointed by the Church of England. Minister of the Colony
which established the English Church and English Civilization at
Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607.
people, members of the Colony, left this testimony concerning him. He
was an honest, religious and courageous Divine.
preferred the Service of God in so good a voyage to every thought of
ease at home. He endured every privation, yet none ever heard him
repine. During his life our factions were ofte healed, and our greatest
extremities so comforted that they seemed easy in comparison with what
we endured after his memorable death.
all received from him the Holy Communion together, as a pledge of
reconciliation, for we all loved him for his exceeding goodness. He
planted the first Protestant Church in America and laid down his life in
the foundation of America.
Charter of Virginia, May 23, 1609, granted by King James I, stated:
"Because the principal Effect which we can expect or desire of this
Action is the Conversion and reduction of the people in those parts unto
the true worship of God and the Christian Religion."
Colony of Virginia, 1613, in the Jamestown Settlement, baptized
Pocahontas, the Indian princess, into the Christian faith. She received
the Christian name of Rebekah as the Reverend Richard Bucke, second
chaplain to the Virginia Colony, performed the ceremony. In 1614 she
married John Rolfe, a council member of the Jamestown Colony, and later
they had a son named Thomas, (whose descendants included the statesman
John Randolph of Roanoke, and Edith Galt, who married President Woodrow
Wilson in 1915).
original painting of Pocahontas, by the artist Brooke, is in the
National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution. The
inscription painted on the portrait states:
Matoaks ats Rebecka, daughter of the mighty Prince Powhatan Emperour of
Attanoughknomouck ats Virginia converted and baptized in the Christian
faith, and wife to the wor. Mr. Tho: Rolff.
Colony of Virginia, July 30, 1619, was ordered by the Virginia Company
to hold the first Representative Assembly in the New World at Jamestown.
The secretary of the Virginia Colony, John Pory recorded the meeting:
foreasmuch as men's affaires doe little prosper, where God's service is
neglected, all the Burgesses tooke their places in the Quire till prayer
was said by Mr. Bucke the Minister, that it would please God to guide
and sanctifie all our proceedings, to His own glory and the good of this
Colony of Virginia, December 4, 1619, records how 38 colonists landed in
a place they called Berkeley Hundred. In their charter, they instructed:
ordain that the day of our ship's arrival... In the land of Virginia
shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to
Colony of Virginia, March 22, 1622, saw the Jamestown Settlement saved
from a massacre by the warning of a young Indian youth, named Chanco. A
marker within the reconstructed interior of the original church at
Jamestown Island, Virginia, commemorates the event:
memory of Chanco, an Indian youth converted to Christianity, who resided
in the household of Richard Pace across the river from Jamestown and
who, on the eve of the Indian massacre of March 22, 1622, warned Pace of
the murderous plot thus enabling Pace to cross the river in a canoe to
alert and save the Jamestown settlement from impending disaster.
of Virginia, 1623, enacted legislation requiring civil magistrates:
see that the Sabbath was not profaned by working or any employments, or
journeying from place to place.
Virginia Bill of Rights June 12, 1776, states:
Article XVI That Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator, and the
Manner of discharging it, can be directed only by Reason and
Convictions, 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.
Virginia Statute of Religious Liberty January 16, 1786, states:
Well aware that Almighty God hath created the mind free; that all
attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil
incapacitations... Are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of
Forsaken Chapter 6
Forsaken Chapter 8