Tuesday, February 18, 2014

First Amendment Quote of the Day - February 18, 2014

The Articles of the Warsaw Confederation, issued January 28, 1573 by a group of Polish and Lithuanian leaders, were an early written declaration of religious freedom in Europe, allowing all denominations to worship as they wished, without interference from anyone who did not approve or who professed otherwise, and without punishment, fines, or taxes from the government or King.


"That, specifically, it is sworn to maintain civil peace among people who are differentiated by faith or religious practice, and that without a declaration of the sejm we never be forced across the borders of the realm by any royal action or request, not forced to pay five grzywna per shaft, nor shall there be a general levy called."

"Therefore we swear to rise up against anyone who would constitute or allow himself to be elected at a time or place other than that indicated, or who would desire to create tumult at the election, or who would accept bonded serving people, or who would dare to oppose an election concluded with complete assent."

"And whereas in our Commonwealth there are considerable differences in the Christian religion, these have not caused disorders among people, as detrimental as have begun in other kingdoms that we have clearly seen, we promise to one another, for ourselves and for our descendants, for all time, pledging our faith, honor and conscience, we swear, that we who are divided by faith, will keep peace among ourselves, and not shed blood on account of differences in faith or church, nor will we allow punishment by the confiscation of goods, deprivation of honor, imprisonment or exile, nor will we in any fashion aid any sovereign or agency in such undertakings. And certainly, should someone desire to spill blood on such account we all shall be obliged to prevent it, even if the person uses some decree as pretext or cites some legal decision."

"All ecclesiastical officials who enjoy royal benefits, such as archbishops, bishops, and all others similar, will be granted these prerogatives equally: to clergy of the Roman church and to those of the Greek church as both are by law Polish citizens."

"And so that peace may be broadly shared, and so that differences among the estates would be checked, and so that the differences in matters of temporal politics between the secular and ecclesiastical estates be small, we promise to coordinate all these matters at the next electoral sejm."

          The Articles of the Warsaw Confederation, issued January 28, 1573.  An English translation is at Reformation.org , and here is a link to the original text in Polish.

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