History

Religious Freedom Day commemorates the anniversary of the 1786 passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.

In Virginia, a tax was proposed to make citizens support recognized churches. For these American Revolutionists like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, this smacked of tyranny. They argued religious involvement should be solely motivated by the individual’s beliefs not by the government’s pronouncement. In essence, religion should be voluntary.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution relied heavily on the sentiment expressed by the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.

In 1993, the President declared January 16th to be “Religious Liberty Day.” A day of gratitude commemorating the freedom Americans have enjoyed for generations to express and live out their deeply held beliefs.

Commemoration Ideas

Here is a list of ideas to learn more about religious freedom and express your gratitude:

1) Read Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (paraphrased version) and Governor Pete Ricketts’ Religious Freedom Day Proclamation.

2) Write Governor Pete Ricketts’ expressing thanks for protecting religious freedom. Let him know you are praying for him and his family. You can do this for your state senator as well.

3) Educate others about Religious Freedom Day. Click here for suggestions.

4) Learn about your child’s or grandchild’s rights as a public school student to express his or her faith.

5) Print off a map of countries where religious freedom is not allowed. Pray for a particular country.

Whether you are a pastor, educator, business owner, parent, grandparent, or student choose to make Religious Freedom Day meaningful.

Lis Gilger
Lis works as NFA's Communications Director. Outside of NFA, she enjoys a good novel, deep friendships, spending quiet time with God, and currently chocolate covered almonds.
Lis Gilger

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