We The People


The very first amendment, added to the Constitution in 1791, contains guarantees of freedom of religion. The Founders believed freedom of religion was important because they thought that religious intolerance was a danger to the community and harmful to religion. Few of the early English colonies in North America permitted religious freedom. Several of the colonies had one religious group that controlled the whole colony. Everyone that lived in that colony had to follow the same religious ideas. The Founders were afraid that if everyone did not follow the same religion it would led to danger. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were greatly concerned about the dangers of religious tolerance. They were well aware that throughout history, religious intolerance had often lead to conflict and to the community and harmful to religion. They thought religious intolerance was a danger to the community and harmful to religion. The freedom of religion clause in the first part of the First Amendment written in 1791 illustrates the strong beliefs in America that government should not interfere with religion. The difference between the establishment clause and the free exercise clauses are the establishment clause set forth the idea that congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion and government and religion should be separated. The idea of separation of church and state was written by Thomas Jefferson who was the Founder that drafted The Declaration of Independence written in 1776. The free exercise clause states that Congress may not stop you from holding any religious beliefs you choose or having no religious beliefs at all. Government may not unfairly or unreasonably limit your right to practice any religious beliefs you wish, this is called the free exercise clause. The anti-federalists refused to sign the ratification of the Constitution in 1787 if a Bill of Rights was not added. These Bill of Rights listed the basic rights of all U.S. citizens...
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