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ICC NOTE: The United States of America is blessed to be a nation where its’ citizens have the freedom worship in whatever manner they wish. However, nearly three quarters of the world does not have the same privilege, as some form of religious persecution/discrimination occurs daily. January 16th marks the 230th anniversary of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom penned by Thomas Jefferson, our third president and writer of the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson considered the piece of legislation to be one of his greatest achievements. It would became the precursor to the Free Exercise Clause in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” As we celebrate National Religious Freedom Day, please remember to pray not only for the United States but also the millions of people around the world who face persecution daily. 

1/16/2016 United States (Washington Times) – As a colonial-era Virginia law upholding religious freedom reaches its 230th anniversary this weekend, traditional values groups are urging Americans to stand up for their rights to live out their beliefs in peace.

Federal and state laws like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) are based on the words of founding fathers Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty said Thursday.

These federal and state laws — which protect people against substantial burdens on their religious freedom — play “an essential role in protecting the religious minorities of our time,” said Hannah Smith, senior counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The organization has created an online educational source for information on the laws called RFRA Central.

On Saturday, President Obama is scheduled to release a proclamation honoring National Religious Freedom Day.

The commemorative day, enacted in 1992, falls on the same day as the 1786 Virginia Statute Establishing Religious Freedom — a measure drafted in 1777 by Jefferson that became the “forerunner of the Constitution’s First Amendment Religion Clauses,” said the Becket Fund.

Also on Saturday, the Family Research Council (FRC) and Vision America are hosting a four-hour broadcast, which will feature religious messages from eight Republican presidential candidates.

The candidates will answer the question, “What do you see as the greatest threat to religious freedom in America today, and what will you do as president to protect our First Freedom?”

Republican presidential candidates who have prepared a response are Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Carly Fiorina, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, and former governors Jeb Bush of Florida and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas.

The FRC and other groups are alarmed about attacks on religious freedom:

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