On this day in 1776, the Constitution of Virginia is adopted, and Patrick Henry, who helped write it, was elected governor, and served for five non-consecutive terms.
Here is section 16 of that, and the current version of the Constitution:
“SEC. 16. That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.”
“But as for me…”
Lastly, here are a few portions of the Patrick Henry “Give me Liberty, or Give me Death!” speech from the year prior:
“Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
… If we wish to be free…we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!
Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations.
… Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”