Religious Freedom Day Celebration

Jan 16, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Donald Trump has recognized that faith is embedded in the history, spirit, and soul of America and proclaimed today as Religious Freedom Day. President Trump also re-nominated Gov. Samuel Dale Brownback of Kansas to be Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. 

Religious Freedom Day is celebrated in America each year on January 16 to commemorate the 232nd anniversary of the passing of the 1786 passage of Thomas Jefferson's Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom that ended the state-established church in Virginia, finally protecting religious rights for all denominations. The Anglicans had fined, persecuted, jailed and murdered Christians who were not part of the state-established church. However, Jefferson, a lifelong fervent advocate for the rights of religious liberty and religious conscience, worked hard to protect and defend those Christians.

President Trump states in his proclamation: “This seminal bill, penned by Thomas Jefferson, states that, ‘all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.’  Five years later, these principles served as the inspiration for the First Amendment, which affirms our right to choose and exercise faith without government coercion or reprisal…No American — whether a nun, nurse, baker, or business owner — should be forced to choose between the tenets of faith or adherence to the law. The free exercise of religion is a source of personal and national stability, and its preservation is essential to protecting human dignity.  Religious diversity strengthens our communities and promotes tolerance, respect, understanding, and equality.  Faith breathes life and hope into our world.  We must diligently guard, preserve, and cherish this unalienable right.” 

To further promote religious freedom, President Trump nominated Gov. Brownback in 2017 to be Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Department of State. However, since the Senate failed to vote on his appointment, the president sent Brownback’s name back for confirmation this week.

In the ambassadorship, Brownback will lead the Office of International Religious Freedom, which is under the umbrella of the State Department and charged with promoting religious freedom as a foreign policy objective. The Office of International Religious Freedom monitors religious persecution and discrimination worldwide, recommends and implements policies in respective regions or countries, and develops programs to promote religious freedom.

“I commend President Trump for commemorating today as the 232nd anniversary of the passing of Thomas Jefferson's Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom which has shaped and secured our cherished legacy of religious liberty,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “We must continue to embrace and protect our religious freedom in America and around the world.  Christians and religious minorities are now suffering more persecution than at any time in history. Gov. Sam Brownback has proven that he will fight for religious freedom and will do an excellent job defending this sacred freedom around the world. I call upon the Senate to confirm him,” said Staver.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.