The anniversary of the signing of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom will again be marked this year at a celebration hosted at the Valentine First Freedom Center. On Thursday, January 16, the 2nd Annual Religious Freedom Day event will take place at the very site where the statute was signed in 1786. The Valentine First Freedom Center will welcome museum guests, local religious leaders, members of the public and others at 9 am for a morning of reflection and conversation about the enduring legacy of religious liberty.
“As we witness rising antisemitism, islamophobia and increasing religious hate crimes, it is imperative that we use the 234th anniversary to reassert the profound importance of freedom of conscience,” said Valentine Director Bill Martin. “We hope that the Valentine First Freedom Center can function as a site that not only educates about this foundational freedom, but also serves as a place where meaningful dialogue about this founding value can be realized.”
The celebration will feature remarks by Rabbi Michael Knopf of Richmond’s Temple Beth-El, selected readings from the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, a musical performance, and light refreshments. The Valentine says the event will also use the anniversary to address the recent rise in anti-Semitic violence and vandalism nationally, and how continued interfaith dialogue among Richmond’s faith community can help combat these threats to religious freedom.