RFI President Eric Patterson wrote an article published in Providence this week discussing the importance of Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statutes of Religious Freedom, the passage of which is marked each year in the United States by Religious Freedom Day. Patterson argues that the Statutes “lay out a compelling vision of what religious freedom looks like” and then quotes them directly:
We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.
Patterson commends “Jefferson’s rich vision in the Virginia Statutes,” in which he builds upon his prior work on the Declaration of Independence where we find the foundation of the American creed:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Read the full article: “Religious Freedom Day 2023 – Jefferson’s Virginia Statutes for Religious Freedom.”