St. Paul, MN – On Monday, Senator John Marty introduced Senate Resolution 53, calling for the Minnesota Senate to recognize January 16th as “Religious Freedom Day” in Minnesota. This resolution recalls the anniversary of the 1786 enactment date of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, to remind people of the fundamental importance of religious freedom to our democracy.
“While religious freedom shouldn’t be a controversial topic in America, I introduced this resolution because some people have been using the guise of religious liberty to enable government to promote their religious beliefs,” Sen. Marty said. “Last year’s legislation calling for the posting of ‘In God We Trust’ in public schools is certainly not a welcome message to people who do not believe in God, to people who believe in different gods, or to Christians who don’t want government interfering with their religion and telling them what to believe. It is surprising that many of the people who say they want a smaller, less intrusive government are so eager to promote a government-sanctioned religious motto. This is an intrusion of government into the most personal parts of our lives.”
Senator Marty said that by recalling the history of religious freedom and commemorating Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom, “we remember the importance of religious liberty for all – people of any religious faith and people with none.”
“James Madison warned that government promotion of certain beliefs ‘degrades from the equal rank of citizens all those whose opinions in Religion do not bend to those of the Legislative authority.’ When some politicians use religion to divide us from each other, promoting certain religious beliefs at the expense of others, it is important to speak out,” Sen. Marty said. “As a person with deeply-held religious beliefs, I find it offensive that people want government to promote or attack my religion or any other religion.”
The text of the resolution can be found here.