"A Bill for Punishing
Disturbers of Religious Worship and Sabbath Breakers."

 June 18, 1779

   The bill was drafted for the Virginia Legislature as No. 82 of the Revised Statutes returned to the Assembly by Jefferson and Wythe on June 18, 1779. Bill No. 84 of the Revision provided:

"If  any person on Sunday shall himself be found laboring at his own or any other trade or calling, or shall employ his apprentices, servants or slaves in labor, or other business, except it be in the ordinary household offices of daily necessity, or other work of necessity or charity, he shall forfeit the sum of ten shillings . . . ."

   It also forbade the arrest for any civil cause of any minister of the gospel while engaged in public preaching or performing religious worship in any church, and punished any person who should maliciously disturb any worshipping congregation or misuse any minister therein.

    There is evidence to attribute the original draft of the provision to Thomas Jefferson

Footnote 68 - McGOWAN v. MARYLAND, 366 U.S. 420 (1961)

 

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