Excerpts of Laws and Covenants
to Guarantee Religious Freedom
-- at least in theory.
Part 1 of two parts:
There have been many federal constitutions, and international
covenants which guarantee (at least in principle) religious freedoms throughout
the world. The following excerpts are taken from a variety of such documents.
||U.S. federal and state constitutions:1
||Canadian constitution and laws:
U.S. CONSTITUTION - BILL OF RIGHTS:
- "Amendment I: 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."
The "free exercise" clause has been interpreted in different ways. Some store owners believe that if their faith group teaches that they should actively discriminate against women, gays, lesbians, same-sex marriages, transgender persons, that they should be free to do so at their business. Others believe that religious exercise is limited to beliefs, speech, prayer, and religious services, but does not extend to discrimination against business customers.
[Additional US documents are available at this Site]
||Ch. 265-37 Interfering with Any Right or Privilege Secured by Constitution
or Laws of Commonwealth: No person, whether or not acting under color of law, shall by
force or threat of force, willfully injure, intimidate or interfere with, or attempt to
injure, intimidate or interfere with, or oppress or threaten any other person in the free
exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the constitution or laws
of the commonwealth or by the constitution or laws of the United States...
||Ch. 265-39 Intimidation: Whoever commits an assault or a battery upon a person
or damages the real or personal property of another for the purpose of intimidation
because of said person's race, color, religion, or national origin shall be punished....
||Ch. 266-127A Injury to Religious, Educational, etc., Institutions: Any person
who willfully, intentionally and without right, or wantonly and without cause, destroys,
defaces, mars, or injures a church, synagogue or other building, structure or place used
for the purpose of burial or memorializing the dead, or a school, educational facility or
community center or the grounds adjacent to and the owned or leased by any of the
foregoing or any personal property contained in any of the foregoing shall be punished...
VIRGINIA CONSTITUTION PROTECTING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM:
Section 58 of the Virginia State Constitution states:
"No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or
CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS:
||Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982
||Enacted by the Canada Act 1982 [UK] c.11;
||Proclaimed in force April 17, 1982.
Selected references related to religious freedom:
Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the
rule of law:
Section 1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the
rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law
as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
Section 2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
||freedom of conscience and religion;
||freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and
other media of communication;
||freedom of peaceful assembly; and
||freedom of association.
(Passed by House of Commons, during mid-1995)
Section 718.2 A court that imposes a sentence shall also take into consideration
the following principles:
(a) a sentence should be increased or reduced to account for any relevant aggravating or
mitigating circumstances relating to the offense, and, without limiting the generality of
(i) evidence that the offense was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on the race,
nationality, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability or sexual
orientation of the victim, ....shall be deemed to be aggravating circumstances;
- Human Rights U.S.A. "educates people in the United States about their human
rights and encourages community-based action." Their primary goal is to
"demonstrate that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human
rights documents are as relevant to life in the U.S. as they are to life in other
countries, and to improve the protection of human rights in American communities by increasing Americans awareness of these rights."
Copyright © 1996 to 2019 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2019-FEB-24
Author: B.A. Robinson
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
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Originally posted on: 2018-DEC-20