National Religious Freedom Day is observed on January 16 every year since 1993 to commemorate the Virginia General Assembly’s adoption of Thomas Jefferson’s landmark Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on January 16, 1786. This vital document became the basis for the Constitution’s First Amendment establishment clause, and led to the protection of freedom of religion for all Americans. Every president writes an official Proclamation on this day.
Why We Need Religious Freedom:
“Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness,” said Founding Father, Samuel Adams in 1778.
An academic report from Princeton University argues that vigorously advancing religious freedom is in America’s national interests:
· The basis for religious freedom is awareness of the reality and dignity of the human person. Since religion is a human impulse to know and relate to something bigger than one’s self and is a phenomenon found in all times and cultures, to interfere with living out religious experience, is to interfere with human fulfillment.
· “When citizens are free to have an ultimate commitment to something more than human, something beyond the authorities of state and society, the power of the state is thereby limited.”
· At the same time, religious freedom disciplines religious people to treat their non-coreligionists with respect.
· Morally, religion is just not religion unless it is done freely.
· Legally, democracies have recognized that – far from being a marginal special interest – religious freedom is a central human right.
“I still believe that standing up for the truth of God is the greatest thing in the world. This is the end (purpose) of life.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“We have become certain of two things: religious freedom is under attack, and we will not cease our struggle to protect it.” Cardinal Timothy Dolan, New York
“God governs in the affairs of men … And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?” Benjamin Franklin
“There were only a few shepherds at the first Bethlehem. The ox and the donkey understood more of the first Christmas than the high priests in Jerusalem. And it is the same today.” Thomas Merton, Catholic monk and author
“Our first real Christmas as a nation was the dark and freezing Christmas of 1776, when George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware. They and Providence gave our nation its first Christmas gift – a victory that brought us closer to liberty, the condition in which God meant man to flourish.” President Ronald Reagan, 1984
The Little Sisters of the Poor are returning to court to defend themselves against lawsuits from Pennsylvania and California that seek to take away the nuns’ recently received conscience exemption from the Health and Human Services (HHS) rule. In October, HHS had rolled back the Affordable Care Act’s federal mandate that employers must provide abortion-inducing drugs and contraception in their health insurance plans.
“If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” George Washington
ALERT! Watch EWTN’s “Pro-Life Weekly” coverage of Catholics for Freedom of Religion
http://bit.ly/2jsvyCe the final 4 minutes of the show
In a related case, after years of litigation, on Oct. 11, the Department of Justice reached a settlement that marks relief for two similar ministries in relation to the HHS mandate.