Why does the Pennsylvania State Constitution still have this very cramped view of religious freedom? (h/t Morbo at the Carpetbagger Report)
In Pennsylvania only believers are guaranteed religious freedom. The rest of us, not so much. The fortunate thing is that a 1961 United States Supreme Court ruling (Torcaso v. Watkins) turned this section of our state constitution into the legal analog of an appendix.
“We repeat and again reaffirm that neither a State nor the Federal Government can constitutionally force a person ‘to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion.’ Neither can constitutionally pass laws or impose requirements which aid all religions as against nonbelievers, and neither can aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs.”
It no longer has a function, but certainly it may cause the body politic some pain. Therefore I think it would be wise, should there be a constitutional convention in Pennsylvania, to bring this section up to date. Extend religious freedom to all of us.
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