Patrick Henry, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights
At Mainstream Baptist Bruce Prescott writes
The Religious Right often quotes Patrick Henry to support their contention that the Founding Fathers intended to found a Christian nation. There is no doubt that Patrick Henry was an American patriot and that he was a Christian nationalist, but Henry was no friend of the Constitution or of the Bill of Rights. He was an ardent opponent of both.
Henry’s Christian nationalism is evident from a bill he introduced in the Virginia legislature in 1784 entitled, “A Bill Establishing a Provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion.” The bill proposed to assess a moderate tax or contribution annually for the support of the Christian religion. In the same legislative session, he supported a bill introduced by another member of the Virginia legislature that would make the Protestant Episcopal Church the Established Church in Virginia.
Henry’s bill was offered after Thomas Jefferson left Virginia to serve as the American Ambassador in Paris. Jefferson was no longer present to advocate for his Act for Establishing Religious Freedom, first introduced in 1779, which had been tabled.
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