Discussion Questions for Religion and the Federal Constitution of 1787

1.  How could the ban on religious tests for holding federal office be seen as protecting religion in the United States?  How could it be seen as detrimental to religion in the new nation?

2.  Why didn’t the framers of the Constitution discuss slavery in religious terms at the Convention?

3.  What is the best way to determine the influence of the framers’ personal religious beliefs, and the broader culture’s religious culture, on the drafting of the Constitution?  How, for instance, should reflections about the process written by figures like Adams and Jefferson (neither of whom was a member of the Constitutional Convention) in later decades be brought to bear on the discussion?  How important is evidence of colonial religious culture, given the transformations of the Revolutionary era?

4.  The Constitutional Convention was not a democratically elected representative body in the way the US Congress was designed to be.  How do we balance the views of the framers of the Constitution other voices from the culture?