Opinion: Our Religious Freedom is in Peril, But the Supreme Court Can Help | First Liberty
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Opinion: Our Religious Freedom is in Peril, But the Supreme Court Can Help

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January 16, 2019

By: Kelly Shackelford, President, CEO and Chief Counsel for First Liberty Institute

Today, Americans will pause to honor one of the core principles upon which our nation was founded: religious freedom.

On January 16, 1786, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom — the forerunner to the First Amendment penned by Thomas Jefferson — was adopted.

In it, Jefferson stated that “no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever,” and “all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”

In these words, one can hear the echoes of what would become the religion clauses of our First Amendment. The First Amendment’s Establishment Clause is a pledge that the government will not coerce religious exercise by establishing a state church but is balanced against a proactive commitment to protect the free exercise of faith.

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To The American Legion:

As a grateful citizen, I support your effort to honor those who have fallen in battle and to keep the Bladensburg WWI Veterans Memorial standing as a visible reminder of valor, sacrifice, endurance, and devotion.

Veterans memorials like the one in Bladensburg, MD are symbols reminding us of the sacrifice of our service members and the cost of war. Tearing down the Bladensburg Memorial would erase the memory of the 49 fallen heroes of Prince George’s County—like they never even existed.

We cannot allow the Bladensburg Memorial to be bulldozed.

Please know that you have my support and backing in your petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.