Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom
Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom 1
Jefferson asked to be remembered on his tombstone as author of the Declaration of Independence, father of the University of Virginia, and author of this law. Long delayed because of the contentiousness of the subject and the powerful interests arrayed against it, the Virginia Statute was drafted in 1777, introduced as a bill in the 1779 legislative session, and adopted in 1786. Eventually the laws of all thirteen original states would prohibit an established church and guarantee religious liberty to all.
January 16, 1786
I. Well aware that the opinions and belief of men depend not on their own will but follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to ...