Religion and the Constitution: The Official Record (Part 3)

Religion and the Constitution: The Official Record (Part 3) February 2, 2016

Christy painting

Religion & The Constitution: The Official Record

 Part 3 of 3

Now, on to the Senate; unfortunately, there is no record of the Senate debate because the Senate met in secret at the time and did not open its doors to the public until 1795, however, it did keep a journal of all the motions.

August 25, the Senate receives the proposed amendments from the House of Representatives and on motion to postpone the consideration of the articles to the next session of Congress.

It passed in the negative.

Ordered, That Monday next be assigned to take them under consideration.

Art. III. “Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, nor shall the rights of conscience be infringed.”

Art. IV. “The freedom of speech, and of the press, and the right of the people to peaceably assemble and consult for their common good, and to apply to the government for redress of grievances, shall not be infringed.”

These two articles will eventually merge and become the First Amendment.

September 3, the Senate begins debating Art. III.

On motion to amend article third, and to strike out these words: ‘religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ and insert ‘one religious sect or society in preference to others:’

It passed in the negative.

On motion for reconsideration:

It passed in the affirmative.

On motion that article the third be stricken out:

It passed in the negative.

On motion to adopt the following, in lieu of the third article: ‘Congress shall not make any law infringing the rights of conscience, or establishing any religious sect or society:’

It passed in the negative.

On motion to amend the third article, to read thus: ‘Congress shall make no law establishing any particular denomination of religion in preference to another, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, nor shall the rights of conscience be infringed:’

It passed in the negative.

On the question upon the third article as it came from the House of Representatives:

It passed in the negative.

On motion to adopt the third article proposed in the resolve of the House of Representatives, amended by striking out these words, ‘nor shall the rights of conscience be infringed:’

It passed in the affirmative. (Human sacrifice… not protected! Woohoo!)

September 4, the fourth article is amended to read as follows, “That Congress shall make no law, abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble and consult for their common good, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances:”

It passed in the affirmative.

September 7, on motion to add the following to the proposed amendments to wit, “That the third section of the sixth article of the constitution of the United States, ought to be amended, by inserting the word ‘other’ between the words ‘no’ and ‘religious’

It passed in the negative. (Third time’s a… well, no.)

September 9, on motion to amend article the third, to read as follows: “Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith or a mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and petition to the government for the redress of grievances:”

It passed in the affirmative.

(Articles III and IV, have now merged)

Resolved, That the Senate do concur in the resolve of the House of Representatives, on “Articles to be proposed to the legislatures of the states, as amendments to the constitution of the United States,” with the amendments; two-thirds of the Senators present concurring therein.

Ordered, That the Secretary do carry a message to the House of Representatives accordingly.

September 10, A message from the Senate informed the House, that the Senate have agreed to the resolutions of this House, of the second ultimo, containing certain articles to be proposed by Congress to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the constitution of the United States, with several amendments; to which they desire concurrence of this House.

September 19, The House then took into consideration the amendments to the Constitution, as amended by the Senate; and, after some time spent thereon, the business was postponed till tomorrow.

September 21, the House then resumed the consideration of the amendments proposed by the Senate to the several articles of the amendments to the Constitution of the United States; some of which they agreed to, and disagreed to others, two-thirds of the members present concurring in each vote; whereupon, a Committee of Conference was desired with the Senate, on the subject matter of the amendments disagreed to; and Messrs. Madison, Sherman, and Vining were appointed managers on the part of the House.

The Senate receives the message from the House of Representatives and due concur in a conference on the subject matter of disagreement on the said articles of amendment, and that Messrs. Ellsworth, Carroll, and Paterson, be managers of the conference on the part of the Senate.

September 24, the House proceeded to consider the report of a Committee of Conference, on the subject matter of the amendments depending between the two Houses to the several articles of amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as proposed by this House: whereupon, it was resolved, that they recede from their disagreement to all the amendments: provided that the two articles, which, by the amendments of the Senate, are now proposed to be inserted as the third and eighth articles, shall be amended as follows:

Art. 3. Congress shall make no law, respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Art. 8. …

On the question that the House agree to the alteration, in the manner aforesaid, the yeas and nays were called, and are as follow: 37-14.

On motion, it was resolved, that the President of the United States be requested to transmit to the Executives of the several States which have ratified the Constitution, copies of the amendments proposed by Congress, to be added thereto, and like copies to the Executives of the States of Rhode Island and North Carolina.

The Senate received a message from the House informing them, that the House of Representatives had receded from their disagreement to the amendments, insisted on by the Senate: provided that the “two articles, which, by the amendments of the Senate, are now proposed to be inserted as the third and eighth articles,” shall be amended to read as followeth:…

September 25, Resolved. That the Senate do concur in the amendments proposed by the House of Representatives to the amendments of the Senate.

September 26, “Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States be requested to transmit to the executives of the United States, which have ratified the constitution, copies of the amendments proposed by Congress, to be added thereto; and like copies to the executives of the states of Rhode Island and North Carolina.”

Well, there you have it; the transcript of the official record pertaining to the religious clauses. To my mind, if the persistent claims by theocrats were accurate it would definitely be evident, not only in the Constitution, but in the debates of these clauses as well; and any objective reader of the record would agree that the spurious claims propagated by uninformed theocrats are utterly fallacious. It is my humble opinion that this slams the door on every single theocratic argument.

I’m just glad that I did not have to include any of the discussion regarding the proposed clause “No person religiously scrupulous shall be compelled to bear arms” because this piece would be, at least, twice as long; Truth.

“Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in showing that religion & Govt. will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”

James Madison, letter to Edward Livingston, 10 July 1822

Steve is an American veteran who views those that support the usurpation of our secular nation in order to pervert it into their preferred theocracy as “domestic enemies” that must be vanquished, nonviolently, through the use of history, facts, and reason.

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