In 1993, the United States Congress issued the following resolution:

[B]e it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That January 16, 1993, is designated as "Religious Freedom Day," and the President is authorized and requested 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 year, the President declares January 16th to be "Religious Freedom Day," and 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.

The Virginia Statute was the inspiration for the First Amendment free exercise clause and establishment clauses which we enjoy today.

For more information on the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and to read the original document, visit


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