January 16 is National Religious Freedom Day. The following explanation comes from A Guide for Commemorating Religious Freedom at School at ReligiousFreedomDay.com.
Each year, since 1993, the President declares January 16th to be Religious Freedom Day, and, as in 2005, calls upon Americans to “observe this day through appropriate events and activities in homes, schools, and places of worship.”
The day is the anniversary of the passage, in 1786, of the Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom. Thomas Jefferson drafted the legislation and considered it one of his greatest achievements. It stopped the practice of taxing people to pay for the support of the local clergy, and it protected the civil rights of people to express their religious beliefs without suffering discrimination.
The men who drafted the U.S. Constitution leaned heavily on Jefferson’s statute in establishing the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom. Today, that protection is as important as ever.
We are blessed in the United States to have religious freedom, and it is important that we protect freedom OF religion from those who advocate for freedom FROM religion. Each individual has the right to choose who or what to worship or whether to worship at all.
As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15b, KJV)
Let us thank God for our religious freedom and pray for those who don’t have the same freedom.
O God, who art the giver of all good gifts; We bless thy Name and give thee thanks for the religious freedom guaranteed to us in these United States. Grant that we worship thee, the one true God, faithfully and reverently, and that we protect this freedom for future generations, ever mindful that we enjoy liberty that many have not. We offer supplications for thy children around the world who do not enjoy the freedom to worship thee openly and freely without fear of persecution. We beseech thee to remember them in thy mercy and spread religious freedom around the world. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, who liveth and reignth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.