Celebrate Religious Freedom Sunday
Special Report - December 29, 2009
Churches in North Carolina and nationwide are preparing to help raise awareness about the constitutional rights of public school students by celebrating “Religious Freedom Sunday” on January 10, 2010. Sponsored by Gateways To Better Education (GTBE), the national event is intended to promote the annual presidential proclamation of “Religious Freedom Day,” which is observed every year on January 16 and commemorates the 1786 enactment of the Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom, drafted by Thomas Jefferson. The President of United States has issued a proclamation recognizing the annual event every year since 1993, when President George H.W. Bush issued the first “Religious Freedom Day” proclamation.
The theme for this year’s “Religious Freedom Sunday” is based on Leviticus 25:10: “proclaim liberty throughout the land.” GTBE suggests that churches commemorate the event in the following ways:
- Honor the educators in your congregation and offer a prayer
of thanks and blessing for them.
- Make a brief announcement explaining “Religious Freedom Sunday” and provide the congregation with GTBE’s “Free to Speak” pamphlet in the bulletin. As we have previously reported, the “Free to Speak” pamphlet summarizes the seven points of the U.S. Department of Education’s guidelines for student expression in public schools. It is part of the “National Free to Speak Campaign,” which is jointly sponsored by GTBE and the Alliance Defense Fund.
- Have Sunday school teachers and youth leaders distribute multiple copies of the “Free to Speak” pamphlet to K-12th grade students in the congregation.
In addition, GTBE has also created an informational guidebook for commemorating January 16’s “Religious Freedom Day” that includes suggestions for churches, students, parents, and educators on how to promote and celebrate the event. It also includes copies of previous presidential proclamations, as well as a copy of the Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom. In addition, the guidebook details the rights of students at school.
Copyright © 2009. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.