Statutes & Proclamations
Our Founding Fathers
National Religious Freedom Day
" Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...."
The First Amendment to the Constitution, 1791
Religious Freedom - A Way to Peace
Religious Freedom Day is January 16th. It commemorates the anniversary of the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in 1786. It celebrates the constitutional guarantee that the United States Congress will not establish religion or prohibit people from worshiping as they please. It honors the tireless efforts of George Mason, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to ensure that our most basic human right, freedom of conscience, would be protected. It reminds us that these three great men strongly believed that religious freedom would keep America from the bloody and devastating religious wars that had plagued Europe for centuries.
Religious Freedom Day is for everyone! Since 1993, every president has made an annual proclamation stating that January 16th is Religious Freedom Day. But we would like to see it become a permanent national (not federal) holiday. This would allow ‘Religious Freedom Day’ to have greater prominence and to be printed on our calendars. People could gather together with others of different faith to share a pot-luck style meal - to celebrate our religious freedom and to appreciate each other. Ring bells! Have a parade! Be thankful! Celebrate the cornerstone on which our country was built – freedom of conscience! James Madison said that the Statute of Religious Freedom for Virginia, “extinguished forever the ambitious hope of making laws for the human mind.”
You can help make Religious Freedom Day a national holiday!
Please write to your U.S. representative and senators. Let them know that you support the creation and passage of a bill that would make Religious Freedom Day a national holiday. Take a look at our ‘How you can help’ section for ideas or think of your own.
And remember to celebrate our religious freedom on January 16…….and every day!