It’s the start of a brand new year, which in all likelihood has each one of us thinking: How can I get 2019 started off on the right foot?
Here at First Liberty, we have just the thing to add to your list of resolutions so that you can make this historic year count. Want to know what it is?
It’s simple, really. We’re calling on you – and every person of faith in America – to go live out your faith!
Right now is the perfect time to do so, as people of faith all across America celebrate the 26th anniversary of National Religious Freedom Day.
Millions of Americans from coast to coast will have a chance to reminisce about our country’s heritage of religious freedom. But keep in mind that National Religious Freedom Day isn’t just about historical remembrance. It’s much more than that.
It’s a call to action, when you and millions of other Americans can live out your faith knowing that you not only have the constitutional right to do so, but that you have First Liberty – the nation’s leading religious liberty law firm – in your corner.
Above all, when you go forth to live it out, we want to reassure you that the Constitution and federal law guarantee your right not just to believe as you see fit, but to freely and openly practice your faith.
But how did this special and commemorative day come about? Let’s take a brief look at the history of National Religious Freedom Day as it continues to be a landmark day of observance for our nation.
Each year, since 1993, the President of the United States declares January 16th to be Religious Freedom Day, in commemoration of the many faiths that make up our country and calling upon all Americans to go forth to share their faith and exercise their religious liberty rights in their homes, schools and houses of worship.
It’s also a day when we look back on the historic passing of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, a bill authored by Thomas Jefferson in 1786 stating that “all men shall be free to profess, and…maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no way diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”
Does that sound familiar?
It should, because the principles espoused in that document served as an inspiration for the drafting of the First Amendment, which affirms your right to live out your faith without the government interfering or coercing your beliefs.
And if you haven’t yet thought of what you can do today, or you’re confused about whether or not it’s appropriate for you to share or practice your religious beliefs, we’re here to provide some helpful pointers.
First off, as a citizen you have a right to religious liberty in your own home. That includes hosting prayer meetings, Bible studies, or similar religious gatherings – and no government official or agency should tell you otherwise. In short, your home is the most sacred and protected space for you to worship – so live out your faith at home!
If you’re a student, teacher, or a coach in one of our nation’s schools, you don’t have to hide your faith in a broom closet. You can openly and freely live in accordance with your religious beliefs while you’re on school property and during school activities, like football games or other similar events.
And you know what that means?
It means that you and your classmates can go and talk to others in your school about your faith, or pray over your lunch, or take a knee to thank God at your football game. Or, if you’re a coach, go say a quick prayer for your players before or after a game.
Again, it’s your right to do so.
What’s more, if you’re one of America’s military service members, know that you are protected by the First Amendment to live out and express your religious beliefs, including sharing your faith with your brothers and sisters in arms. You fought to defend the Constitution, and that means you also can enjoy the same rights and freedoms to live – and to serve – consistent with your religious beliefs.
Maybe you’re a business owner, creative professional, or an artist who wants to continue doing what you love while staying true to your religious beliefs. If so, we have good news. The Constitution protects your right to be a part of the free market without violating your deepest religious convictions. So go out there and create, build and grow your business in accordance with your faith.
So with all of this in mind, we want to know: How will you live out your faith on National Religious Freedom Day?