In 1992, Congress designated January 16th as Religious Freedom Day to celebrate the enactment in 1786 of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, stipulating that it be commemorated by a presidential proclamation each year.
Written by Thomas Jefferson and championed by James Madison, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was the forerunner to the approach to religion and government taken by the Framers of the Constitution in 1787, and the First Amendment in 1789.
Project Blitz organizers have included a model resolution for Religious Freedom Day in their legislative playbook.
Their model resolution however, says nothing about how the value of religious equality under the law—not religious or Christian supremacy—was the guiding and governing principle of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom commemorated by Religious Freedom Day and is what we should celebrate today.
To recognize the true vision of religious freedom embraced by our founders and by the majority of Americans, we have created a model Religious Freedom Day Resolution for legislative bodies such as legislatures and city councils, which can also be used in the form of a proclamation by executives such as mayors and governors. Click the link below to download a PDF of this model text along with additional information and resources about Religious Freedom Day.
This resolution and related information was produced in consultation with experts and intended to accurately reflect the work of Jefferson and Madison, as well as the act of Congress that designated January 16th as Religious Freedom Day.
In 2018, versions of this resolution were introduced in the Minnesota State Senate by veteran Senator John Marty (D-MN) and by Councilmember David Grosso (I-DC) in the Council of the District of Columbia, which passed it unanimously.