Initial Conclusion



Given the evidence presented in previous chapters, it can be concluded that most early Americans committed to the free exercise of religion thought that it (1) prohibits the government from having jurisdiction over religious matters, that is, from passing laws that directly aid or harm religion, even if they do not involve the use of coercion; (2) does not prohibit laws that enforce morality even if they are thought to be sanctioned by God or supported by churches, because such laws were understood as affecting primarily the earthly interests of persons, not their eternal destiny; (3) does not entail a right to religion-based exemptions from valid civil laws; and (4) can be limited, at least under certain conditions.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of RichmondRichmondUSA

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