On June 1, Tennessee celebrated its 223rd birthday, having officially separated from North Carolina in 1796.
While Tennessee’s first constitution borrowed heavily from that of its mother state, one interesting point of departure was North Carolina’s Constitution creating a religious test for public office. North Carolina’s Constitution provided that no person who denied the being of God or the truth of the Protestant religion or the divine authority of either the Old or New Testaments could hold public office in that state.
The delegates to Tennessee’s constitutional convention took a more ecumenical approach, striking the provisions regarding Protestantism and the Bible, but even to this day, Tennessee’s Constitution provides that “no person who denies the being of God or a future state of rewards and punishments shall hold any office” in Tennessee.
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