Gov. Ricketts declares Religious Freedom Day
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts declared Jan. 16 as Religious Freedom Day in the state, coinciding with the nationwide recognition of the anniversary of the 1786 passage of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom.
Ricketts signed the proclamation Jan. 14 during a ceremony at the State Capitol and was joined by faith leaders, students and representatives from the Nebraska Family Alliance and Nebraska Catholic Conference.
“The free practice of religion not only allows us to worship in faith, but empowers us to love and serve our neighbor, particularly those most in need, as Jesus taught us: to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless and comfort the afflicted,” said Dr. Courtney Miller, director of clinical services at Catholic Social Services of Southern Nebraska in Lincoln.
“While we celebrate and rejoice in these good deeds, it is important for us to remain watchful of threats to our religious liberty such as discriminatory regulations or laws that could restrict or shut down many of our services, which help countless vulnerable people in our state and country,” she said.
Ricketts, who is Catholic, has taken actions to protect religious freedom, signing in 2017 LB62, a bill which ended criminal penalties for public school teachers wearing religious garb.
“Religious liberty is one of America’s founding principles, a sacred human right guaranteeing you the freedom of conscience to practice your deeply held beliefs without fear of government punishment,” said Karen Bowling, executive director of the Nebraska Family Alliance. “Nebraska Family Alliance is honored to stand alongside Gov. Ricketts today in support of this irreplaceable American freedom.”