Sen. Rounds, among others designate day to reflect on Religious Freedom
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Mike Rounds joined a number of his Senate colleagues Thursday to introduce a resolution designating Jan. 16 as Religious Freedom Day.
This resolution comes on the 234th anniversary of Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom — a statute that laid the foundations for the First Amendment.
“Freedom to practice religion without the fear of persecution is a fundamental human right and a pillar of our form of government in the United States,” said Rounds. “The U.S. Constitution protects the rights of all Americans to worship freely. Sadly, not all countries share our views on religious freedom, and religious minorities around the world are punished for their beliefs. Americans must continue fighting to protect religious freedom until it is recognized as a basic human right everywhere.”
Thomas Jefferson wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Many historians credit the language of Jefferson’s Statute with inspiring the groundwork for the First Amendment. The First Amendment includes, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
The Religious Freedom Day Resolution declares the importance of religious freedom as a human right that is essential to a free society and protected for all people of the United States under the Constitution. It also recognizes the anniversary of the enactment of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. It proclaims the fundamental right of all people to believe and worship according to their own conscience, to affirm their beliefs openly, and to practice their faith without fear or intimidation.
The Resolution comes after an outbreak of anti-Semitic attacks in the U.S. in the past months, predominately occurring in New York. On Dec. 10, two men went on a violent rampage at a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, killing three people inside the store. During a Hanukkah celebration, a string of stabbings occurred at a rabbi’s home.
North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer was among those who joined Sen. Rounds in introducing the Religious Freedom Day Resolution.