The Meaning of Religious Liberty in the Other Southern States
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Other southern states followed Virginia’s lead in rejecting establishments of religion, although in not quite as decisive a manner. Thus, one of Maryland’s constitutional provisions authorized the government to tax persons to support all Christian churches equally, but when such a bill was proposed in 1785, after widespread debate, it was decisively defeated, for the same reason such a bill was defeated in Virginia—government has no jurisdiction over religion. North Carolina’s constitution prohibited ministers and non-Protestants from holding public office. South Carolina’s constitution officially established Protestantism, but it provided no financial support for churches, and its 1790 constitution removed all vestiges of that establishment. Georgia’s guarantee of religious freedom was very similar to Virginia’s, but it prohibited non-Protestants and ministers from holding office.