24 April 2014

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe Opposes Religious Freedom

The Democratic governor of Virginia vetoed a bill on Friday [April 4] that aimed to reinforce the religious rights of students . . .
I suppose the Governor has never read the Virginia Constitution which says, in part:
Section 16. Free exercise of religion; no establishment of religion. That religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and, therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.
That wording comes directly from George Mason's Virginia Declaration of Rights:
That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other. 
I like this part of the *original draft better:
That as Religion, or the Duty which we owe to our divine and omnipotent Creator, and the Manner of discharging it, can be governed only by Reason and Conviction, not by Force or Violence; and therefore that all Men should enjoy the fullest Toleration in the Exercise of Religion, according to the Dictates of Conscience, unpunished and unrestrained by the Magistrate, unless, under Colour of Religion, any Man disturb the Peace, the Happiness, or Safety of Society, or of Individuals. And that it is the mutual Duty of all, to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity towards Each other. 
Governor McAuliffe is restraining the Exercise of Religion by his veto. His veto was simply a nod to the most radical wing of his party. 

*A digitized image of Mason's first draft serves as the background image for this blog.

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