"Give Thanks For State/Church Separation" Week

Whereas, We have cause to give thanks to our nation's founders as our Constitution celebrates its two hundred and sixteenth year as the world's longest-lived constitution ensuring liberty and justice for all;

Whereas, We reflect on the first Thanksgiving harvest feast in 1621, celebrated in gratitude to Native Americans by refugees to the shores of America;

Whereas, Many refugees to America were fleeing religious persecution, yet all but one of the original colonies soon embraced religious persecution, attempting to establish by law the religion of the majority--banning, arresting, jailing, even executing heretics or dissidents;

Whereas, The founders of the republic of the United States of America in 1789, wanting to avoid the religious wars, inquisitions, crusades, tyranny, persecution, and bloodshed that had devastated Europe and later the 13 Colonies, very purposefully and deliberately established the first nation in the history of the world to separate state from church, adopting an entirely secular Constitution;

Whereas, The Constitution's only references to religion in government are exclusionary, such as that there shall be no religious test for public office;

Whereas, The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment forbids any government support of religion, leaving citizens free to worship as they please or not at all;

Whereas, Tragic current events in this country and around the world attest to the urgent need to reaffirm and re-establish a strict separation of church and state;

Whereas, We can applaud our progress in rejecting religious persecution since the first Thanksgiving;

Now, therefore, let this Thanksgiving act as a reminder of the precious tradition of freedom of religion--and, if we so choose, freedom from religion--and the wisdom of keeping government and religion forever separate.

I ___________________, GOVERNOR OF ___________________, do hereby proclaim November 20-26, 2005 as

"Give Thanks For State/Church Separation" Week

in ___________________ and urge all citizens to honor the constitutional principle of separation of church and state, and to contemplate with reverence the vision of our founders in forming a nation where citizens, regardless of religion or irreligion, are equal before the law.

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