Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Hoosier Constitution on Freedom of Religion

Since it has come up in the post below, I thought I would post here some of the initial articles in the Constitution of the State of Indiana. It has a lot of interesting features, being in many ways much more explicit than the US Constitution. I hope I may be forgiven some local pride in saying that I think the drafters, perhaps just as pygmies on the shoulders of giants, learned something from the Founding Fathers.

Constitution of the State of Indiana

Approved in Convention at Indianapolis,
February 10, 1851
Adopted by the Electorate, effective November 1, 1851
As Amended through June 6, 2001


TO THE END, that justice be established, public order maintained, and liberty perpetuated; WE, the People of the State of Indiana, grateful to ALMIGHTY GOD for the free exercise of the right to choose our own form of government, do ordain this Constitution.

ARTICLE 1. Bill of Rights

Section 1. Inherent Rights

Section 1. WE DECLARE, That all people are created equal; that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that all power is inherent in the People; and that all free governments are, and of right ought to be, founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and well-being. For the advancement of these ends, the People have, at all times, an indefeasible right to alter and reform their government.
(History: As Amended November 6, 1984).

Section 2. Right to worship

Section 2. All people shall be secured in the natural right to worship ALMIGHTY GOD, according to the dictates of their own consciences.
(History: As Amended November 6, 1984).

Section 3. Freedom of religious opinions

Section 3. No law shall, in any case whatever, control the free exercise and enjoyment of religious opinions, or interfere with the rights of conscience.

Section 4. Freedom of religion

Section 4. No preference shall be given, by law, to any creed, religious society, or mode of worship; and no person shall be compelled to attend, erect, or support, any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry, against his consent.
(History: As Amended November 6, 1984).

Section 5. No religious test for office

Section 5. No religious test shall be required, as a qualification for any office of trust or profit.

Section 6. No state money for religious institutions

Section 6. No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution.

Section 7. Religion no bar to competency of witnesses

Section 7. No person shall be rendered incompetent as a witness, in consequence of his opinions on matters of religion.

Section 8. Mode of oath administration

Section 8. The mode of administering an oath or affirmation, shall be such as may be most consistent with, and binding upon, the conscience of the person, to whom such oath or affirmation may be administered.

If we really believe in federalism, we all ought to be as familiar with our state constitutions as we are with our federal constitition. I would encourage other bloggers with local pride (Theresa in Minnesota, and Rick in California spring to mind) to dig out and post what their constitutions say about these and other interesting matters.