Just a day after remembering the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., Americans are being called to reflect Tuesday (Jan. 16) on the importance of religious liberty.
“The constitutional right to practice our faiths peacefully and openly is a core tenet of our democracy and helps us fulfill one of our highest aspirations as a Nation: to be a citadel of liberty and a beacon of freedom,” said President Joe Biden in a Jan. 12 release proclaiming Jan. 16 as Religious Freedom Day.
Presidents have been setting aside the day since it was designated by Congress in 1993.
The day is set aside to commemorate “the Virginia General Assembly’s adoption of the landmark Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on January 16, 1786,” according to George Washington University. The statute was written by Thomas Jefferson.
“We believe freedom of religion includes the ability to worship without the interference of the state, the ability to freely express one’s religious beliefs without fear of retribution from the state, and the freedom to live according to one’s deepest held convictions,” said Miles Mullin, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) chief of staff, in written comments.
Southern Baptist religious liberty leaders say religious freedom has deep roots in their theological convictions.
“For centuries, Baptists have advocated for religious liberty and freedom of conscience for all people. For Southern Baptists, this has been a foundational commitment, so important that we enshrined it in our confession of faith ,” Mullin said.
Read the full Baptist Press article here.