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By virtue of the authority vested by the Constitution of Virginia in the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, there is hereby officially recognized:

Religious Freedom Day

WHEREAS, the Virginia Declaration of Rights, unanimously adopted on June 12, 1776, ordained, "That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience;" and

WHEREAS, on January 16, 1786, the Virginia General Assembly adopted a religious freedom statute, drafted by Thomas Jefferson and introduced by James Madison, to protect Virginians against any requirement to attend or support any church and against discrimination; and

WHEREAS, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was the model for the First Amendment to the United States Constitution; and

WHEREAS, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”; and

WHEREAS, the founders of our country were great men and women from many religious denominations, races, and cultures, who came here from all over the world to establish a country “with liberty and justice for all,”; and

WHEREAS, since its passage 238 years ago, Virginia’s Statute for Religious Freedom remains in place, and it is important that we reflect on and uphold the vision of our founding fathers and the key role Virginians played in ensuring this right is constitutionally guaranteed; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth recognizes the tremendous religious diversity in Virginia and respects the rights of all Virginians to enjoy their freedom of religion;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Glenn Youngkin, do hereby recognize January 16, 2024, as RELIGIOUS FREEDOM DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of our citizens.