The Framers’ Debates on Religion

The First Amendment and the Utah Constitution

Lesson III: The Utah State Constitution of 1895

Step 3. Religion & Utah Law

Read the following religion sections of the Utah state constitution:

“The rights of conscience shall never be infringed. The State shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office of public trust or for any vote at any election; nor shall any person be incompetent as a witness or juror on account of religious belief or the absence thereof. There shall be no union of Church and State, nor shall any church dominate the State or interfere with its functions. No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise or instruction, or for the support of any ecclesiastical establishment.

Article I §4. Utah State Constitution

Perfect toleration of religious sentiment is guaranteed. No inhabitant of this State shall ever be molested in person or property on account of his or her mode of religious worship; but polygamous or plural marriages are forever prohibited.

Article III §1. Utah State Constitution

"The Legislature shall make laws for the establishment and maintenance of a system of public schools, which shall be open to all the children of the State and be free from sectarian control.”

Article III §4.4. Utah State Constitution

“Neither religious nor partisan test or qualification shall be required of any person, as a condition of admission, as teacher or student, into any public educational institution of the State.”

Article X §12. Utah State Constitution

“Neither the Legislature nor any county, city, town, school district or other public corporation, shall make any appropriation to aid in the support of any school, seminary, academy, college, university or other institution, controlled in whole, or in part, by any church, sect or denomination whatever."

Article X §13. Utah State Constitution

Summary

The delegates of the Utah constitutional convention defined greater legal protections for the rights of conscience than the federal government provided at the time. It ensured:
  • The rights of conscience will never be infringed
  • The state will not establish a church
  • Free exercise of religion is guaranteed
  • No religious test for public office
  • Jurors will not be judged for religious belief or none
  • No union of church and state
  • Public funds will not be used to support religious instruction or worship
  • No one will be persecuted or lose property because of their religion
  • No public money will support sectarian schools
  • No religious test for teachers or students in public schools
  • No government funding can aid religious educational institutions
Lesson III. Step 3 of 7
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