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                                                      PRINTER'S NO. 2236



No. 275 Session of 2002



                                  A RESOLUTION

     1  Designating the week of September 23 through 29, 2002, as
     2     "Religious Freedom Week" in Pennsylvania, and urging the
     3     Governor to issue a proclamation in observance of this week.

     4     WHEREAS, The principle of religious liberty was an essential
     5  part of the founding of the nation and must be safeguarded with
     6  eternal vigilance by all men and women of good will; and
     7     WHEREAS, Religious liberty has been endangered throughout
     8  history by bigotry and indifference; and
     9     WHEREAS, The First Amendment of the Constitution of the
    10  United States guarantees the inalienable rights of individuals
    11  to worship freely or to not be religious, as they choose,
    12  without interference from governmental or other agencies; and
    13     WHEREAS, The Constitution of the United States ensures
    14  religious freedom to all people of the United States; and
    15     WHEREAS, In a letter to the Touro Synagogue written in 1790,
    16  President George Washington declared that the nation would give
    17  "to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance"; and
    18     WHEREAS, The Touro Synagogue letter advocating the doctrine

     1  of mutual respect and understanding was issued more than one
     2  year before the adoption of the Bill of Rights; and
     3     WHEREAS, The Touro Synagogue letter and the Touro Synagogue
     4  have become national symbols of the commitment of the United
     5  States to religious freedom; and
     6     WHEREAS, Throughout the history of the nation, religion has
     7  contributed to the welfare of the faithful and of society
     8  generally and has been a force for maintaining high standards
     9  for morality, ethics and justice; and
    10     WHEREAS, William Penn, despite his social position and
    11  excellent education, converted to a persecuted religious group,
    12  the Society of Friends, or Quakers, and used his inherited
    13  wealth and rank to benefit and protect his fellow believers; and
    14     WHEREAS, the first General Assembly of the Province of
    15  Pennsylvania on December 7, 1682, adopted the Great Law, a
    16  humanitarian code which became the fundamental basis of
    17  Pennsylvania law and which guaranteed liberty of conscience; and
    18     WHEREAS, Religion is most free when it is observed
    19  voluntarily at private initiative, free from Government
    20  interference and unconstrained by majority preference; and
    21     WHEREAS, Religious liberty can be protected only through the
    22  unified efforts of all persons of good will; therefore be it
    23     RESOLVED, That the Senate designate the week of September 23
    24  through 29, 2002, as "Religious Freedom Week" in Pennsylvania;
    25  and be it further
    26     RESOLVED, That the Senate urge the Governor to issue a
    27  proclamation calling on the people of Pennsylvania, including
    28  members of all faiths or none, to join together in support of
    29  religious tolerance and religious liberty for all and to observe
    30  the week with appropriate activities.
    I23L82SFL/20020S0275R2236        - 2 -