Jamie Allard: Religious Freedom Day takes on new meaning in a time of mandates - Must Read Alaska
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Jamie Allard: Religious Freedom Day takes on new meaning in a time of mandates

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By JAMIE ALLARD

Religious Freedom Day is something I never thought I’d be thinking about. Like many Americans, it is a freedom I’ve taken for granted most of my life, like freedom of speech. But not anymore. 

With this Sunday, Jan. 16, as national Religious Freedom Day, I’m sad to report that we cannot assume our government will protect and defend our constitutional rights in this era. We have to protect them through our own actions. We have to fight for them, and oftentimes, we’ll have to defend our religious freedom in court, as we’ve seen recently with the government violating the religious rights of Covid vaccine refusers, and with Americans willing to take these violations to the highest court in the land.

There is nothing more sacred to mankind than each of our spiritual journeys. Freedom to worship and hold fast to a faith — whether we hold those beliefs privately or share them with the world — is one of the most fundamental human rights. Everyone deserves the freedom to seek out truth, to find connection with Creator and creation, to form core values and conscience that guide life decisions, and to gather with others and worship. That freedom leads all others as our First Amendment to the Constitution. Without it, the Colonies would never have ratified the Constitution, and we would not have a country.

With these words, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” our nation became the first in the world to create a government without a state religion. 

Through the efforts of our founders — James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and George Mason — the Virginia Assembly passed the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on Jan. 16, 1786. It was the forerunner for the First Amendment.

Since 1993, every president has issued a proclamation recognizing Jan. 16 as National Religious Freedom Day. 

On Sunday, I invite you to pledge to protect and cherish this first freedom that birthed our nation and has been an example to the world of the beauty, prosperity, and peace that comes from a people free to live out their faith. 

Faith inspires hope, the Trump Administration wrote last year it a presidential proclamation on Religious Freedom Day, which I recommend as good dinner-table reading.

“Deeply embedded in the heart and soul of our Nation, this transcendent truth has compelled men and women of uncompromising conscience to give glory to God by worshiping both openly and privately, lifting up themselves and others in prayer.  On Religious Freedom Day, we pledge to always protect and cherish this fundamental human right,” the proclamation says.

Those words mean more to me than ever before.

Join me in honoring the vision of a nation made strong by righteous people, free to exercise their faith as they see fit. Let us commit to protecting that precious religious freedom — the bedrock of all liberty, which we hold so dear.

Jamie Allard is and Assemblywoman representing Chugiak-Eagle River, and a candidate for House District 22.

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Latest comments

  • This is called pandering. There is zero threat to religious freedom, but Allard will certainly flush out the gullible who will air their grievances and, importantly, donate money.

  • Religion is fantasy. Prayer is nothing more than thought that no one else hears. God, at least as defined by Christianity, does not exist.

    Very few who profess to be religious actually believe, and fewer still would die for their professed beliefs.

    Read Dawkins, Hitchins, and Harris, and be set free.

    Oh, and God will not save you from a bad case of Covid. Put your faith in vaccines and medical science instead.

    • “Put your faith in vaccines and medical science instead.”
      .
      So you have NOT rejected religion, Nom Deplorable, you have simply adopted blind faith in (corrupt) authority, and made those in power your God. How wonderfully Bolshevist of you.

    • Nom Deplume
      What an interesting statement. While in your opinion religion is fantasy, you do not dismiss God. Would you die for your God?

      • AFH: I think Nom dismissed your god when Nom said he doesn’t exist.

        Under what circumstances would you die for your god?

  • Unfortunately our DC delegation isn’t doing anything to protect our rights. They will all be replaced I hope.

  • I want to be free to practice NONE. Please let me and don’t force your Religious Extremism on me or my people.

    • I am confused.
      You ARE free to practice “none”, as you put it. Do you want to be “protected” from ever coming into contact with a religious person or thought? If there is no God, why does it matter to you? You demand the freedom to never have to confront your personal choices and answer the question of a higher being by dictating that others follow YOUR doctrine. How hypocritical is that??!!
      Religion is an path to connect to more than ourselves. You are free to walk another path, but to stand in the way of others really says more about you than the ones you call extremists.

      • AFH: Christians are SO sensitive and defensive! Susie P doesn’t want ABT Bronson to be making decisions based on religious principles, not social and scientific principles. Or like Taffetta Tshibaka who recently promised that when she is elected Alaska senator, she will read the entire bible into the congressional record.

        • Call it what you want, but those “religious principle” you are poop-pooing here, without a faith component still make for a fair, peaceful and just society.
          For instance:
          Look for something greater than yourself as a guide, don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t be jealous of your neighbor, don’t murder, respect your elders and treat all the way you wish to be treated.
          If you think these are silly rules you apparently subscribe to anarchy and chaos and I for one want no part of that.

          • AFH: Those values that you listed are swell. What’s not to like. But they aren’t necessarily religious. I was referring to things like prayers before public meetings.

          • Evan, you are reaching. If you can’t differentiate between a principle and a custom, you have bigger issues.

    • Suzie P, here is an obvious question:
      If you wish to be free of religion, why did you click on the article? Do you have a tiny closet religious extremist in your computer/phone that just clicked on it, to force you to read it?

  • I’m tired of being discriminated against for being white and Christian God loving.

  • AMEN!!!!

  • Well said Jamie!
    G-d Bless America!

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