Dear Friends in Christ:
Each year, our nation celebrates National Religious Freedom Day on January 16th. In 1992, Congress authorized the President to request to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to join together to celebrate their religious freedom and to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. Since 1993, each President of the United States has proclaimed January 16th to be National Religious Freedom Day.
January 16th has been designated National Religious Freedom Day because it marks the anniversary of the passage of Thomas Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom by the Amendment of the United States Constitution which, as we know, enshrines the freedom of religion as a right which is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. In his statute, Jefferson states that "all men shall be free to profess ... their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities." He concludes that any attempt to repeal or limit this statute "would be an infringement of natural right."
To continue reading please click below to download Bishop Barres' letter.