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The No Religious Test Clause and the Constitution of Religious Liberty: A Machine That Has Gone of Itself

By Gerard V. Bradley


The article VI ban on religious tests for federal offices is the sole provision on the topic of religion in the original Constitution. Since the seminal Everson decision in 1947 the courts and commentators have labored mightily to craft a thoroughgoing constitutional philosophy of church and state, in recognition of the profoundly problematic relationship between religion and law in our society. Yet none has looked carefully at the test clause for guidance. This Article does just that. Professor Bradley argues that notwithstanding the complete absence of attention to article VI, its story tells us all we need to know about the appropriate constitutional philosophy of religion: there is none. Instead, the test ban provides the design for a machine of religious liberty that has gone of itself for two hundred years

Topics: article VI, religious liberty, Everson, church and state
Publisher: NDLScholarship
Year: 1987
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