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Maryland was one of the states where the people and their representatives believed that their state should have a very active role in the promotion of general Christianity. This however falls far short of the "establishment" of a state religion. For one thing denominational Christianity is as divergent as false religions of the world have differences with one another. Furthermore there are denominations of Christianity that are in fact false religions. There is no particular denomination or set of denominations chosen by the state over others. In other words the state which is by the people and for the people is simply acknowledging the culture of the people. More importantly though the state is acknowledging the necessity of general Christianity's role in the public welfare and by extension in the role of good\limited government. They understood the power of the Gospel and the Government of Gods role in the creation of moral, functional, equitable and productive human beings. This is no different than today's almost fanatically accepted beliefs of the role of public state funded education in securing the welfare of the people and by extension the welfare of the state itself. In fact it is exactly the same thing but later has a tendency to be used as a means to different ends. As an example of this, modern public education all to often vilifies the founders of the nation who wrote these state constitutions. These, driven by a spirit of anti Christ trumpet their own morality as far superior to those who wrote these constitutions. That would be laughable if it were not so wicked. It's simply a time tested tactic use by the power hungry and the covetous to secure an avenue to the fulfillment of their own agendas.

XXXIII. That, as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to him; all persons, professing the Christian religion, are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore no person ought by any law to be molested in his person or estate on account of his religious persuasion or profession, or for his religious practice; unless, under color of religion, any man shall disturb the good order, peace or safety of the State, or shall infringe the laws of morality, or injure others, in their natural, civil, or religious rights; nor ought any person to be compelled to frequent or maintain, or contribute, unless on contract, to maintain any particular place of worship, or any particular ministry; yet the Legislature may, in their discretion, lay a general and equal tax for the support of the Christian religion; leaving to each individual the power of appointing the payment over of the money, collected from him, to the support of any particular place of worship or minister, or for the benefit of the poor of his own denomination, or the poor in general of any particular county: but the churches, chapels, globes, and all other property now belonging to the church of England, ought to remain to the church of England forever. And all acts of Assembly, lately passed, for collecting monies for building or repairing particular churches or chapels of ease, shall continue in force, and be executed, unless the Legislature shall, by act, supersede or repeal the same: but no county court shall assess any quantity of tobacco, or sum of money, hereafter, on the application of any vestrymen or church-wardens; and every incumbent of the church of England, who hath remained in his parish, and performed his duty, shall be entitled to receive the provision and support established by the act, entitled "An act for the support of the clergy of the church of England, in this Province," till the November court of this present year to be held for the county in which his parish shall lie, or partly lie, or for such time as he has remained in his parish, and performed his duty. 

This next article is quite comparable to todays court established precedents that the richer districts of the state do not have an advantage over the poorer districts of the state.

XXXIV. That every gift, sale, or devise of lands, to any minister, public teacher, or preacher of the gospel, as such, or to any religious sect, order or denomination, or to or for the support, use or benefit of, or in trust for, any minister, public teacher, or preacher of the gospel, as such, or any religious sect, order or denomination-and every gift or sale of good-e, or chattels, to go in succession, or to take place after the death of the seller or donor, or to or for such support, use or benefit-and also every devise of goods or chattels to or for the support, use or benefit of any minister, public teacher, or preacher of the gospel, as such, or any religious sect, order, or denomination, without the leave of the Legislature, shall be void; except always any sale, gift, lease or devise of any quantity of land, not exceeding two acres, for a church, meeting, or other house of worship, and for a burying-ground, which shall be improved, enjoyed or used only for such purpose-or such sale, gift, lease, or devise, shall be void. 

It would seem they took their religion and therefore their oaths in court a bit more seriously than most do today.

XXXVI. That the manner of administering an oath to any person, ought to be such, as those of the religious persuasion, profession, or denomination, of which such person is one, generally esteem the most effectual confirmation, by the attestation of the Divine Being. And that the people called Quakers, those called Dunkers, and those called Menonists, holding it unlawful to take an oath on any occasion, ought to be allowed to make their solemn affirmation, in the manner that Quakers have been heretofore allowed to affirm; and to be of the same avail as an oath, in all such cases, as the affirmation of Quakers hath been allowed and accepted within this State, instead of an oath. And further, on such affirmation, warrants to search for stolen goods, or for the apprehension or commitment of offenders, ought to be granted, or security for the peace awarded, and Quakers, Dunkers or Menonists ought also, on their solemn affirmation as aforesaid, to be admitted as witnesses, in all criminal cases not capital.

 Since all those listed in article XXXVII earned their living through tax payer dollars, it seems wise to avoid the obvious conflict of interest they would have if they were in charge of those dollars. A lesson that seems long forgotten in todays very corrupt anti Christian atmosphere of those who seek offices of trust.

XXXVII. That no Senator, Delegate of Assembly, or member of the Council, if he shall qualify as such, shall hold or execute any office of profit, or receive the profits of any office exercised by any other person, during the time for which he shall be elected; nor shall any (governor be capable of holding any other office of profit in this State, while he acts as such. And no person, holding a place of profit or receiving any part of the profits thereof, or receiving the profits or any part of the profits arising on any agency, for the supply of clothing or provisions for the Army or Navy, or holding any office under the United States, or any of them-or a minister, or preacher of the gospel, of any denomination-or any person, employed in the regular land service, or marine, of this or the United States-shall have a seat in the General Assembly or the Council of this State. 

In article LV, once more some look at this as if it is an establishment of one religion over another. That is because most would read this in a political context rather than a real world one. In the world of self centered politics it is advantages to the most dishonorable among them for everyone to believe there is not difference between those who ascribe to the morality  of Jesus Christ and those who reject it and him.  In the real world, although examples of hypocrisy abound. Committed Christians are far more likely to be honest, law abiding, and of a generally more equitable character. That a people with real world experience along these lines founding a state would prefer to take their chances among professing Christians in offices of trust verses those who reject Christ and the moral demands he makes of people isn't establishing a religion. It's just common sense.

LV. That every person, appointed to any office of profit or trust, shall, before he enters on the execution thereof, take the following oath; to wit :-" I, A. B., do swear, that I do not hold myself bound in allegiance to the King of Great Britain, and that I will be faithful, and bear true allegiance to the State of Maryland; " and shall also subscribe a declaration of his belief in the Christian religion.


To view the entire constitution follow this hyperlink.

The Constitution of Maryland 1776

© Daniel Martinovich 2002-2013

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