Thanks to The Rude Pundit for mentioning today’s conjunction of two important dates: Religious Freedom Day and Martin Luther King Day. Religious Freedom Day falls on January 16th because that is the anniversary of the passage of Jefferson’s “Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom;” it just happens to fall on MLK Day this year. It’s tough to go wrong by spending at least a few moments today reading Jefferson and King:
Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom is here.
Virtual any words from either of these men is far more enlightening than the misleading puffery found on the Religious Freedom Day website. Their RFD Guidebook and their “Free to Speak” student handout both ignore the complexity of the religious freedom we cherish. The first amendment has two clauses dealing with religion: the free exercise clause with which RFD is so aware, and the establishment clause that they would rather ignore. (This is not surprising, given that RFD is, in their words, “a project of” Gateways to Better Education, whose motto is “Keeping the Faith in Public Schools.”)