Virginia Bill 84

84. A Bill for Punishing Disturbers of Religious Worship and Sabbath Breakers, 18 June 1779

84. A Bill for Punishing Disturbers of Religious Worship and Sabbath Breakers

Be it enacted by the General Assembly, that no officer, for any civil cause, shall arrest any minister of the gospel,1 licensed according to the rules of his sect, and who shall have taken the oath of fidelity to the commonwealth, while such minister shall be publicly preaching or performing religious worship in any church, chapel, or meeting-house,2 on pain of imprisonment and amercement, at the discretion of a jury, and of making satisfaction to the party so arrested.

And if any person shall of purpose, maliciously, or contemptuously, disquiet or disturb any congregation assembled in any church, chapel, or meeting-house,2 or misuse any such minister being there, he may be put under restraint during religious worship, by any Justice present, which Justice, if present, or if none be present, then any Justice before whom proof of the offence shall be made, may cause the offender to find two sureties3 to be bound by recognizance in a sufficient penalty for his good behavior, and in default thereof shall commit him to prison, there to remain till the next court to be held for the same county; and upon conviction of the said offence before the said court, he shall be further punished by imprisonment and amercement at the discretion of a jury.

If any person on Sunday shall himself be found labouring at his own or any other trade or calling, or shall employ his apprentices, servants or slaves in labour, or other business, except it be in the ordinary houshold offices of daily necessity, or other work of necessity or charity, he shall forfeit the sum of ten shillings for every such offence, deeming every apprentice, servant, or slave so employed, and every day he shall be so employed as constituting a distinct offence.

Facebook friends may comment