Blog Post

Did You Know Yesterday Was Religious Freedom Day?

Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS

In a typical sleight of hand, the Administration that has caused the most serious threats to religious liberty in U.S. history, decided to issue a proclamation naming January 16 as Religious Freedom Day, an event that received so little fanfare almost no one knows it even happened.

LifeNews had the most appropriate headline yesterday when it announced that "Obama Announces Religious Freedom Day While his Admin Denies It", and was among several news outlets that took the president to task for saying one thing and doing another.

For those who were unaware of the proclamation, it was meant to commemorate the anniversary of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, written by Thomas Jefferson and passed by the state assembly in 1786.

Jefferson wrote that “no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion.”

“Because of the protections guaranteed by our Constitution, each of us has the right to practice our faith openly and as we choose,” the President wrote. “As we observe Religious Freedom Day, let us remember the legacy of faith and independence we have inherited, and let us honor it by forever upholding our right to exercise our beliefs free from prejudice or persecution.”

He concluded by calling on all Americans "to commemorate this day with events and activities that teach us about this critical foundation of our Nation’s liberty, and show us how we can protect it for future generations at home and around the world."

As the Heritage Foundation's Amy Payne commented: "Words that don’t match deeds from this President simply add insult to the many injuries his Administration has caused people of faith in the past four years."

Among the many serious affronts to religious liberty that have occurred during this president's first term is the imposition of the HHS mandate on religious employers as well as decisions by the Department of Justice to deny religious freedom to pro-life Americans and to refuse to defend traditional marriage in favor of same-sex unions.

Even the Supreme Court rebuked the administration's egregious attacks on religious liberty when it ruled against the government in Hosanna Tabor v. EEOC when it tried to say that religious employers should not have the right to maintain the integrity of their institutions through religious hiring practices.

In an email to LifeNews, Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) President Marjorie Dannenfelser demanded that the president rescind the HHS mandate before making any proclamations about religious liberty.

“Our religious liberty and rights of conscience have been threatened like never before under President Obama," she said and demanded that he "first rescind his HHS mandate before making any proclamations on the subject – this is blatant hypocrisy.”

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