I. The Bill of Rights
Among the natural rights, some are in their very nature
unalienable, because no equivalent can be given or received
for them. Of this kind are the rights of conscience.
Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to
worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience,
and reason; and no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained
in his person, liberty or estate for worshipping God, in
the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of
his own conscience, or for his religious profession, sentiments
or persuasion; provided he doth not disturb the public peace,
or disturb others, in their religious worship.
As morality and piety, rightly grounded on evangelical principles,
will give the best and greatest security to government,
and will lay in the hearts of men the strongest obligations
to due subjection; and as the knowledge of these, is most
likely to be propagated through a society by the institution
of the public worship of the Deity, and of public instruction
in morality and religion; therefore, to promote those important
purposes, the people of this state have a right to impower,
and do hereby fully impower the legislature to authorized
from time to time, the several towns, parishes, bodies-corporate,
or religious societies within this state, to make adequate
provision at their own expence, for the support and maintenance
of public protestant teachers of piety, religion and morality.
. . .
every denomination of christians demeaning themselves quietly,
and as good subjects of the state, shall be equally under
the protection of the law: and no subordination of any one
sect or denomination to another, shall ever be established
A Nation Dedicated to Religious Liberty 120 (Adams and Emmerich:
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990)