US Federal and State Constitutions

The US Federal Constitution

The US Constitution was ratified on September 17, 1787. This constitution contained the no religious test clause in Article VI. On September 25, 1789 the Bill of Rights was added. The Bill of Rights is the first 10 Amendments to the US Constitution. Amendment 1 addresses religious liberty.

Article. VI. – Debts, Supremacy, Oaths

Article.VI. – Debts, Supremacy, Oaths of the base US Constitution says:

“The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

The First Amendment

The First Amendment of the Constitution reads as follows:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging freedom of speech; or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Such a peaceable assembly can be a person of 1 wherever that person declares his or her religious liberty right.

Religious liberty refers to (1) Freedom of Religion and (2) Freedom from Religion. These ideas together form the basis for religious tolerance. Religious tolerance is not complaining or blocking another person from believing and/or practicing his or her religious preference privately or in non-religious public institutions so long as there is no cause to physical harm.

Amendment 1 guarantees both Freedom of Religion and Freedom from Religion. In the First Amendment Freedom from Religion is found in the phrase “respecting an establishment of religion” and Freedom of Religion is found in the phrase “prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

Freedom from Religion guarantees a person the right to be free from having to conform to another person’s religion or the lack thereof. Freedom of Religion guarantees a person the right to choose and practice his chosen religion or none at all without interference or pressure from another. That is to say, religious liberty is a natural right that no government, person, or other entity has the rightful authority to deny.

It is reasonable to conclude that both Freedom of Religion and Freedom from Religion may be reasonably limited by governments and other entities. The purpose of such limitations is to strike a reasonable balance between private/personal/individual interest and public/society/group interest.

It is important to strike a godly reasonable balance between freedom from religion and freedom of religion.
Atheist and agnostic give greater weight to the freedom from religion part of the 1st Amendment religion clause. Some Christian may also do so yet to a lesser degree. Others rightly give greater weight to the freedom of religion part while honoring the freedom from religion part.

The US Federal Constitution, Laws, and Religion

There are various  Forms of Government in the world.  The American form of government is secular democratic as set forth and promoted in the American Federal Constitution.  This is seen in the absence of any reference to God in the Constitution itself. It is further seen in Amendment 1 and the no religious test provision of Article VI .

This is consistent with the Bible. For the New Covenant provides the people with liberty to make choices not available under the Old Covenant Theocracy. The scriptures say “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; (32) And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32) And the scriptures say “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage… For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:1, 13) So then although God gives us liberty we are to use that liberty in obedience to his Will, Word, and Way.

So then although the American form of government is democratic, it need not disregard God in its laws and other decisions. Indeed, it should respect and regard God in its laws. It should do so in such a way so as not to take away the liberty of the non-believer yet not allow the non-believer to take away its right to be faithful to God in all of its laws.

Yet, if the government refuses to obey God, it should at least provide its employees and citizens of the nation the religious liberty not to participate in ungodly laws and yet retain employment and citizenship. Is such easy to do? No it is not for whenever one introduces wickedness into the equation, complexity and difficulty arises. Yet, it can be done though great prayer and creative effort are necessary. For all Christians should stand with the apostles who simply said to the social, political, and religious leaders: “we would rather obey God than men.” (Acts 4:19-20; 5:29). And as 1 Peter 4:16 says: “Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”

Yet, if the government does not provide such religious liberty, the US Constitution Amendment 1 permits the people to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress to provide such religious liberty. Such a peaceable assembly can be a person of 1 wherever he/she declares a religious liberty right, even on the job.

For more information see  Government and Church and Separation of Church and State.

Info on State Constitutions will be added later.

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