Updated: February 27, 2021
Two hundred and thirty-five years ago, the Virginia General Assembly passed Thomas Jefferson’s landmark Statute for Religious Freedom, laying a foundation of liberty to be enshrined in our Constitution and passed down through the generations. Today, Religious Freedom Day, is a symbol of that commitment — and a reminder that the work of protecting religious freedom, for people of all faiths and none, is never finished.
Nothing is more fundamental to America than our diversity. The traditional motto of our nation — E pluribus unum, “out of many, one” — speaks to the unique power we possess as a country where people of disparate beliefs and backgrounds gain strength from one another and unite in common purpose. That strength has seen us through challenging times before, and it will see us through the challenges we face today.
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As we set to work overcoming the pandemic, healing our divides, and building our nation back better in the days ahead, ensuring freedom of religion remains as important as ever. Our government must safeguard these bedrock protections — never favoring certain faiths or discriminating against particular religions, and never imposing religious tests for citizenship, public office, or entry into our country. We must be vigilant against the rising tide of targeted violence and hate at home and abroad, and work to ensure that no one feels afraid to attend a religious service, school, or community center, or walk down the street wearing the symbols of their faith. My administration will guard these cherished principles, working shoulder-to-shoulder with Americans of all beliefs to preserve our nation’s founding promise as an enduring citadel of diversity, unity, and mutual respect.