Constitutional Amendment Proposal to Expand Religious Freedom Rejected

February 21, 2005

Source: The Washington Post

On February 21, 2005 The Washington Post reported, "a Senate committee spent two hours Monday debating what Virginia's founders intended when they wrote about religious freedom two centuries ago before soundly rejecting a proposal to expand on their words. The Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted 10 to 5 to reject a proposed constitutional amendment that would have explicitly recognized the right to pray on public property, including schools... The amendment to Article I, Section 16, would have inserted a paragraph amid wording on religious liberty composed by founding fathers Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Mason and unchanged since 1786. Del. Charles W. Carrico Sr. (R-Grayson), who authored the proposed amendment, said it would strengthen and preserve the spirit of the founders' words. New language was needed, he said, to counter court decisions that have persecuted Christians and expelled expressions of faith from the public square."