"The Civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, be infringed."
"[Religious establishment] is adverse to the diffusion of the light of Christianity ... [because] with an ignoble and unchristian timidity it would [be] circumscribed, with a wall of defence, against the encroachments of error."
"[The human mind] finds more facility in assenting to the self-existence of an invisible cause possessing infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, than in the self-existence of the universe, visibly destitute of these attributes, and which may be the effect of them."
"Religion, or the duty which we owe our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force and violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience."
"It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties.... Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects?"
"Is a Bill of Rights a security for [religious liberty]? If there were but one sect in America, a Bill of Rights would be a small protection for liberty.... Freedom derives from a multiplicity of sects, which pervade America, and which is the best and only security for religious liberty in any society. For where there is such a variety of sects, there cannot be a majority of any one sect to oppress and persecute the rest."
"Nor is any evidence to be found, either in History or Human Nature, that nations are to be bribed out of a spirit of encroachment and aggression, by humiliations which nourish their pride, or by concessions that extend their resources and power."
"A government deriving its energy from the will of the society, and operating, by the reason of its measures, on the understanding and interest of the society ... is the government for which philosophy has been searching and humanity been fighting from the most remote ages ... which it is the glory of America to have invented, and her unrivalled happiness to possess."
Page: 1 2