“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Thus began the first of the Ten Amendments, or Bill of Rights, which were approved Sept. 25, 1789.
“The father of the Bill of Rights” was George Mason of Virginia. George Mason was the richest man in Virginia, owning 15,000 acres. When George Washington was chosen to be the commander of the Continental army, George Mason was drafted by the citizens of Virginia to fill Washington’s place in the Continental Congress. George Mason wrote the Virginia Declaration of Rights, from which Jefferson drew from to write the Declaration of Independence.
George Mason stated before the General Court of Virginia: “The laws of nature are the laws of God, whose authority can be superseded by no power on earth.”
This phrase of Mason’s was mirrored in the Declaration of Independence as: “The laws of nature and nature’s God.”
George Mason was one of 55 founders who wrote the U.S. Constitution, but was one of the few who refused to sign it because it did not end the slave trade and did not put enough limits on the federal government’s power.
On Aug. 22, 1787, George Mason stated: “Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant. They bring the judgment of heaven upon a country. As nations cannot be rewarded or punished in the next world, they must be in this. By an inevitable chain of causes and effects, Providence punishes national sins, by national calamities.”