Dec. 6, 1776  The Virginia Assembly, led by Thomas Jefferson, passed a law denying funds for the Episcopal Church. The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was written into the state’s law and disestablished the Church of England in Virginia and guaranteed freedom of religion to people of all religious faiths, including Christians of all denominations, Jews, Muslims, and Hindus.   The statute was a notable precursor of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Virginia Assembly dates from the establishment of the House of Burgesses at Jamestown in 1619. It became the General Assembly in 1776 with the ratification of the Virginia Constitution.  ABHS has books and pamphlets on the struggle for religious freedom in colonial times.

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