was by and adopted by the General Assembly on January 16, 1786, before being signed into law three days later. The statute affirms the rights of Virginians to choose their faiths without coercion; separates church and state; and, while acknowledging the right of future assemblies to change the law, concludes that doing so would “be an infringement of a natural right.” Jefferson’s “for establishing religious freedom,” drafted in 1777 and introduced in 1779, was tabled in the face of opposition among powerful members of the established . Then, in 1784, calling for a tax to support all Christian sects excited such opposition that saw an opportunity to reintroduce Jefferson’s bill. It houses of the General Assembly with minimal changes to its text. One of the most eloquent statements of religious freedom ever written, the statute influenced both the drafting of the First Amendment to the and the United States Supreme Court’s understanding of religious freedom. Jefferson considered it one of his crowning achievements and a necessary bulwark against tyranny.