Saturday, January 24, 2009

James Madison Inaugural - Freedom of Religion

Our 4th President was James Madison. In his First Inaugural (1809), he said:

" support the Constitution, which is the cement of the Union, as well in its limitations as in its authorities; to respect the rights and authorities reserved to the States and to the people as equally incorporated with and essential to the success of the general system; to avoid the slightest interference with the right of conscience or the functions of religion, so wisely exempted from civil jurisdiction..."

Note his emphasis: the limits of government influence over religion, not a limit on religion itself or on its practice. Those are outside government (civil) jurisdiction. This is quite different from today's common belief that religion is strictly limited by the Constitution.

Read the whole address here

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