MRFF Advisory Board Member John M. Compere’s (Judge and Brigadier General, US Army, Retired) – “CELEBRATE AMERICAN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM!”


American Religious Freedom Day is the annual national observance on January 16th celebrating our historic religious liberties. It commemorates the day in 1786 when the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom authored by Thomas Jefferson and advocated by James Madison (Virginians, Founders and Presidents) was passed by the Virginia Assembly. The legislation disestablished the Church of England as Virginia’s state church and separated government from religion in Virginia.

Virginia’s historic religious freedom law was the genesis for our American Constitution’s separation of church and state (1st Amendment), primarily authored by Madison and advocated by Jefferson, Washington, Adams, Franklin, Hamilton, Paine and other Founders.

World history records the civil conflict and human harm caused for centuries throughout Europe when governments and religion were combined and co-dependent. Separation of church and state is a fundamental liberty of free people keeping public government out of private religion and private religion out of public government. It was clearly our Founders’ intent as provided by the Constitution and its 1st Amendment, indisputably documented by countless historic records, publicly acknowledged by every President except the current contrarian, continuously confirmed by the Judiciary, and permanently provided in the law of our land.

The Declaration of Independence contains universal terms not exclusive to any religion (“Laws of Nature”, “Nature’s God”, “Creator”, “Divine Providence” ). Moreover, it expressly declares “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed” – not from a religion.

The Preamble provides six secular reasons our nation was established for “We The People” with no reference to religion. Our secular Constitution mentions no deity and mandates “no religious test ” shall ever be required as a qualification to any public office or public trust. American history confirms no public prayers were provided during 116 days of the secular Constitutional Convention. James Madison reminded delegates of the Constitution’s secular purpose – “This is derived from the superior power of the people” – not from a religion.

The Constitution’s Bill of Rights (in the 1st Amendment’s first 3 clauses) provides, respectively, our historic trinity of religious liberties – (1) freedom from public religion, (2) freedom of private religion, and (3) freedom of speech about religion. The operative verbs for these three individual religious freedoms make their meaning clear (commonsense clue – first read them and then read their definitions in an American dictionary). We have the right to privately practice our religious or non-religious beliefs, but not publicly on others. Our Texas Constitution provides this same trio of religious liberties.

It is historically significant that the original religion of the Americas was Native American animism. Next came the Vikings’ Old Norse polytheism. Christianity was a later foreign import from the ancient Middle East by way of Rome. Neither Middle Easterners nor Romans discovered America or founded the United States. World history documents the great majority of early colonists fled Europe for America to escape oppressive Christianity, specifically Church of England and Roman Catholic Church control, corruption and conflict.

We became the first nation in history with a governing Constitution protecting independent freedom of belief. The Founders, by their actions, knew individual liberty of conscience could not exist without separation of government and religion. Consequently, our religious freedoms flourish in America.

Our nation’s diversity of religious beliefs is even publicly acknowledged in the United States Department of Defense official list of recognized religions for the military alone that currently includes 221 different faith and belief groups.

These are factual, historical and lawful truths intentionally ignored and dishonestly disregarded by unqualified history deniers and religious revisionists with self-serving sectarian agendas. Beware of those who preach their private belief over our public liberty. They are entitled to their ill-conceived opinions, but never to their own facts, history, law or truth.

“Being no bigot myself to any mode of worship…” & “…the Government of the United States, which gives bigotry no sanction…”. – 1st President GEORGE WASHINGTON

“We should begin by setting conscience free. When all men of all religions…shall enjoy equal liberty…we may expect that improvements will be made in the human character and the state of society.” – 2nd President JOHN ADAMS

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the American people which declared that their legislature should make ‘no law respecting an establishment of religion’…thus building a wall of separation between church and state. ” – 3rd President THOMAS JEFFERSON

“…religion & Govt. will exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.” & “…a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded against by an entire abstinence of the Government…” – 4th President JAMES MADISON

“We establish no religion in this country, we will command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain separate. ” – 40th President RONALD REAGAN


John Compere
Retired US Army Brigadier General, Disabled American Veteran (Vietnam), retired US judge, retired trial lawyer, and Texas rancher

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