Photography by Norma Beaird
Article by Curtis Beaird
In 1991, President George H. W. Bush signed the first proclamation recognizing Religious Freedom Day to be January 16th of each year. When I heard this, I thought “Religious Freedom Day”? Why was this an issue?
After a little research, this is what I learned. President Bush’s proclamation was designed to recognize the first part of the First Amendment to the Constitution. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” After thumbing through some American history, it was clear that the First Amendment was not in response to what the state was doing with religion, but what the church wanted to do with the power of the state.
History shows us that the church tends to grow impatient with the will and way of the God it proclaims. The church can and has become so convinced of its position, that it will seek the power of the state to enforce its will on the population. The Founding Fathers led by Jefferson and Madison recognized this situation; and, with the adoption of the First Amendment in 1791, saved us from a state church.
We owe President George H. W. Bush a debt of gratitude for his foresight in recognizing the separation of Church and State by establishing the Religious Freedom Day.
Copyright 2015, Curtis and Norma Beaird. All rights reserved.