Maryland arguably holds the distinction of being the state whose early history most directly ensured, and whose citizenry was most directly affected by, the First Amendment's protection of religious freedom. Because of its relatively diverse religious population, Maryland stood out as both a champion of tolerance and a hotbed of discrimination for most of its colonial experience. Similarities have been pointed out between the first provincial government in St. Mary's, Maryland, and the American plan under the Constitution, particularly with respect to religious liberty.
This article offers a brief overview of the religious history of Maryland, focuses on important state cases that have contributed to the jurisprudence of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses in the First Amendment and examines several unresolved issues engendered by recent litigation and legislation.
Free Exercise in the Free State: Maryland's Role in Religious Liberty and the First Amendment, 31 J. Church & St. 419 (1989)