Monday, April 16, 2012

Religion Provisions of the Virgin Islands Constitution (2007)

One of my current research projects involves analysis of the religion provisions of various constitutions enacted since the year 2000. From time to time on this blog, I'll post extracts of those provisions arranged according to categories such as "Religious Freedom" (guarantee of individual rights), "Established Religion" (joining religion and government), "Establishment Clause" (separating religion and government), "Ceremonial Deism" (symbolic references to religion that have little or no legal effect), "Equal Protection of Religion" (non-discrimination guarantees), "Preamble", "Religious Education", and "Religious Limitations".

Here are the religion provisions of the Virgin Islands Constitution enacted in 2007. There's not much that is particularly interesting, although the religious freedom guarantee is more elaborate than most and specifically provides for government subsidies of religious education.
Virgin Islands Constitution (2007)

"Acknowledging that the society of the Virgin Islands is based upon certain moral, spiritual and
democratic values including a belief in God . . ."

Equal Protection Religion
"Article 9. Whereas those fundamental rights and freedoms are enjoyed without distinction of any kind, such as sex, race, colour, language, religion . . ."

Religious Freedom
"21.—(1) No person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his or her freedom of conscience.
(2) Freedom of conscience includes freedom of thought and of religion, freedom to change one’s
religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and either in public or in private, to manifest and propagate one’s religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and
observance. (3) No religious community or denomination shall be prevented from or hindered in providing religious instruction for persons of that community or denomination in the course of any education provided by it whether or not it is in receipt of any government subsidy, grant or other form of financial assistance designed to meet, in whole or in part, the cost of such education. (4) No person shall be compelled to take any oath which is contrary to his or her religion or belief or to take any oath in a manner which is contrary to his or her religion or belief, although such person may be required to make an affirmation in lieu of taking an oath."

Ceremonial Deism
"Schedule 1: 1. Oath of allegiance
I, ……………………., do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty
Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors, according to law. So help me God.
3. Oath for due execution of office
I, ……………………, do swear that I will well and truly serve Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the
Second and the people of the Virgin Islands in the office of [here insert the description of the
office]. So help me God."

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