The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State
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State Constitution (Religious Sections) - Pennsylvania

Please note that we have excerpted only those sections dealing with religion
Research and editing by Jim Allison

1776; 1790; 1838; 1873


A Declaration of the Rights of the Inhabitants of the State of Pennsylvania

SECT. II. That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their Own consciences and understanding: And that no man ought or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or erect or support any place of worship, or maintain any ministry, contrary to, or against, his own free will and consent: nor can any man, who acknowledges the being of a God, be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right as a citizen, on account or his religious sentiments or peculiar mode of religious worship: And that no authority can or ought to be vested in, or assumed by any power whatever, that shall in any case interfere with, or In any manner controul, the right of conscience in the free exercise of religious worship.

SECT. VIII. . . . Nor can any man who is conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms, be justly compelled thereto, if he will pay such equivalent, . . .

SECT. 10. A Quorum Of the house of representatives shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of members elected; and having met and chosen their speaker, shall each of them before they proceed to business take and subscribe, as well the oath or affirmation of fidelity and allegiance hereinafter directed, as the following oath or affirmation, viz

I _____ do swear (or affirm) that as a member of this assembly, I will not propose or assent to any bill, vote, or resolution, which shall appear to me injurious to the people; abridge their rights and privileges, as declared in the constitution of this state; but will in all things conduct myself as a faithful honest representative and guardian of the people, according to the best of my judgment and abilities.

And each member, before he takes his seat, shall make and subscribe the following

I do believe in one God, the creator and governor of the universe, the rewarder of the good and punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration.

And no further or other religious test shall ever hereafter be required of any civil officer or magistrate in this state.

SECT. 44. A school or schools shall be established in each county by the legislature, for the convenient instruction of youth, with such salaries to the masters paid by the public, as may enable them to instruct youth at low prices: And all useful learning shall he duly encouraged and promoted in one or more universities.

SECT. 45. Laws for the encouragement of virtue, and prevention of vice and immorality, shall be made and constantly kept in force, and provisions shall be made for their due execution: And a11 religious societies or bodies of men heretofore united or incorporated for the advancement of religion or learning or for other pious and charitable purposes, shall be encouraged and protected in the enjoyment of the privileges, immunities and estates which they were accustomed to enjoy or could of right have enjoyed, under the laws and former constitution of this state.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- PENNSYLVANIA CONSTITUTION-1790


Section 2. . . . Those who conscientiously scrupulous to bear arms shall not be compelled to do so, but shall pay an equivalent for personal service. . .


Section 1. The legislature shall, as soon as conveniently may be, provide, by law, for the establishment of schools throughout the state, in such manner that the poor may be taught gratis.

Section 2. The arts and sciences shall be promoted in one or more seminaries of learning.

Section 3. The rights, privileges, immunities, and estates of religious societies and corporate bodies shall remain as if the constitution of this state had not been altered.


Members of the general assembly, and all officers, executive and judicial, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support the constitution of this commonwealth, and to perform the duties of their respective offices with fidelity.


Section 3. That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; that no man can or of right be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or maintain any ministry against his consent: that no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rites of conscience; that no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishments or modes of worship.

Section 4. That no person, who acknowledges the being of God and a future state of rewards and punishments, shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this commonwealth.

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