20th March 2022

“The most significant document of the Enlightenment, in my view, was not the Declaration of Independence of 1776 or the Déclaration des droits de l'Homme et du citoyen of 1789. It was the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom of 1786, first proposed by Thomas Jefferson seven years earlier. It codified the separation of religious and civic authority, by insisting that there be no religious test for public office. Religious belief was a private choice, but the only interest that the state has in religion is to defend the liberty of its citizens to worship any god or none.”

Oliver Kamm