U.S. Law: Privacy
Pages 13

The main text of the U.S. Constitution, adopted in 1789, provides in article VI that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States,” and the Bill of Rights, adopted in 1791, includes in the First Amendment protection for religious and political belief by forbidding Congress from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” Thus, from the earliest period of U.S. history, the federal government has been formally excluded from regulating the innermost beliefs of individuals.