January 16 marks Religious Freedom Day 2021.
On January 16, 1993, Congress passed a resolution recognizing Religious Freedom Day, a day set aside to celebrate the passage of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty. 2021 is the 235th anniversary of the signing of Virginia’s Statute for Religious Freedom, which would become a foundational principle in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This amendment preserves an individual’s right to choose and exercise faith without government coercion or reprisal. With religious liberty so imperiled these days, it is especially important to celebrate this historic event in 2021.
On May 4, 2017, President Donald Trump made his first of many statements affirming this core right stating, “We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied, or silenced anymore. And we will never, ever stand for religious discrimination.”
In 2018, President Trump talked about the history of the day, “Two-hundred and thirty-two years ago yesterday, on January 16, 1786, the Virginia General Assembly passed the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom state law. This law continued the tradition of separation of church and state which ensured no citizen would be compelled to follow a state religion and was part of America’s legacy of religious liberty. The first amendment to the US Constitution states ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.’”
He called on all Americans “to commemorate this day with events and activities that remind us of our shared heritage of religious liberty and teach us to secure this blessing both at home and abroad.”
The President has done much to make good on his pledge during his time in office. In June 2020, President Trump signed an Executive Order that advanced international religious freedom as a priority in U.S. foreign policy. The order directed the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to take action to combat religious freedom violations. It called for a budget of at least $50 million for programs to fight religious violence and persecution abroad and protect religious minorities.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments, “If the incoming administration in Washington is anything like the Obama-Biden years—and all signs are that it will be…we expect to be very busy.” He continues, “There is time enough to address policies that seek to undermine religious liberty. Now is the time to salute President Donald J. Trump for his heroic leadership in promoting this foundational right.”
Franklin Graham had this to say about persecution trends on his Facebook page:
Donohue agrees, “We live in dangerous times. Multiple calls for policies more closely aligned with totalitarian regimes are being made on a daily basis. The ‘cancel culture’ is out of control. It is our goal to do everything in our power to subvert it. We expect to play a major role in resisting the forces of despotism in 2021.”
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Celebrating Religious Freedom Day 2021
Christian Activities calls on our readers to commemorate Jan. 16 as President Trump recommended, “with events and activities that remind us of our shared heritage of religious liberty and teach us to secure this blessing both at home and abroad.”
- Religious Freedom Advocacy Group Seeks to Raise Awareness About Global Christian Persecution
- Christian Groups Applaud President Trump’s Executive Order Advancing Religious Freedom
- Jan. 16, 2018 Named Religious Freedom Day by President Trump
- Americans Demand Restoration of Their Religious Liberty