Monday, February 2, 2009

New York Constitution - Grateful to Almighty God

The State Constitution of New York, from 1846, has this as its Preamble:
"WE, THE PEOPLE of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings, DO ESTABLISH THIS CONSTITUTION."

Later in the Constitution (Bill of Rights, Section 3):
"The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed in this state to all humankind; and no person shall be rendered incompetent to be a witness on account of his or her opinions on matters of religious belief; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this state."

Notice that their religion clause does not even mention "establishment," focusing instead on free exercise. As has been documented in previous posts, the original intent of the U.S. Constitution was to keep the Federal Government from establishing a religion, but did not prevent the states from doing so. In fact, more than half the states at the time of the Consitution's ratification had their own state-supported religion.

Read the entire New York State Constitution

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