Religious Freedom Day

1/16/2015

WHEREAS, on January 16, 1786,  the Virginia General Assembly passed the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, addressing freedom of conscience and the principle of separation of church and state; and

WHEREAS, the Virginia statue is the first declaration of absolute religious freedom in the United States, and served as a model for the First Amendment of the United States Constitution; and

WHEREAS, the passage of the Virginia statute led to the establishment of freedom or religious beliefs and expression for all Americans; and

WHEREAS, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Washington, all U.S. Presidents and Virginia natives, believed freedom of religion to be a “fundamental right” that belonged to the people of the United States; and

WHEREAS, Religious Freedom Day is an opportunity to recognize the enduring legacy of Thomas Jefferson’s Statute for Religious Freedom on Virginia, the United States, and the world;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Terence R. McAuliffe, do hereby recognize January 16, 2015, as RELIGIOUS FREEDOM DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.

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