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Article 2 — Self-Government
No person shall be compelled by any means, including taxation, to support in any measure, large or small, any commission or endowment for science, arts or humanities, any newspaper, magazine, radio, television or other media, nor shall any person be compelled to support or frequent any educational school, institution, or university whatsoever; nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his person or property, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his opinions or belief; but all people shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions, and these same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.
Religion is the duty our Creator requires of all men with respect to Himself and the mutual duties of charity He requires of all men toward each other. The manner of discharging those duties can only be directed by one's reason and conviction, not by force or coercion. All people are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of their convictions alone.
No person shall be compelled to attend or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever. No person shall be forced, restrained or disturbed in his body or goods; nor shall he otherwise suffer before the law on account of his religious opinions or beliefs. All people shall be free to profess, proselytize or evangelize, and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and the same shall in no way diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.
To compel men to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is both sinful and tyrannical. Even forcing him to support this or that teacher, artist, journalist, scientist, or religious instructor, deprives him of the liberty of voluntarily giving his contributions to the particular individual whose belief he would make his own. The list herein is not meant to be exhaustive. In general, civil government may not compel support via taxation of any object which does not conform to civil government's jurisdiction according to the laws of nature and nature's God.
For instance, the civil government can establish a school to teach its military at taxpayers' expense, since defense is within civil government's power. This does not, however, permit the exception to be expanded beyond the rule or give civil government any general jurisdiction over ideas.
Furthermore, God created the mind free, and manifested His supreme will that free it should remain. Attempts to influence it by punishment or civil incapacitations are contrary to the plan of God who being both the Lord of the body and the mind, yet chose not to force men by coercion on either. Likewise, God has not extended to civil government the power to compulsorily expose men to opinions or ideas, religious or nonreligious.
Civil support of ideas or beliefs tends to corrupt those ideas by bribing with a monopoly of worldly honors and positions those who will externally profess and conform their thoughts and actions thereto.
Civil government's powers do not extend into the
field of opinion and ideas, whether they are religious or non-religious. When
opinions and ideas, however, break out into criminal acts, then civil government
may punish such wrongful acts. For example, if human sacrifice is claimed as a
necessary aspect of religious worship, such a sacrifice is subject to
punishment by civil government, as murder is a criminal act. (See also Article
5, Section 16.)