Gov. Ricketts, Faith Leaders Celebrate Religious Freedom Week in Nebraska

Lincoln, NE (June 29, 2022) Governor Pete Ricketts proclaimed “Religious Freedom Week” in Nebraska today, at a ceremony at the State Capitol.  Together with Christian, Hindu, and Jewish religious leaders, the Governor highlighted the right to religious freedom and the social benefits that come from the free exercise of religion.

“Religious freedom is the first freedom listed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” said Gov. Ricketts.  “That’s no accident.  Religious freedom is the cornerstone of a free society.  Nebraskans exercise this freedom by standing up for the most vulnerable, serving the disadvantaged, and seeking the well-being of their neighbors.  The State of Nebraska affirms the right to religious freedom and is fully committed to protecting it.”

This month, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two landmark rulings that upheld religious freedom.  On June 21st,  the Court ruled in favor of families who challenged the anti-religious bias of the State of Maine’s school funding system.  On June 27th, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Joseph Kennedy, a high school football coach who had been punished by his public school for praying at the 50-yard line after games.  The ruling upheld an individual’s right to personally exercise religion in the context of public employment.

Like the U.S. Constitution, the Nebraska Constitution strongly asserts the right to religious freedom.  Article I-4 proclaims that “All persons have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences.”

At today’s ceremony, Gov. Ricketts thanked religious communities for their many contributions to the Good Life.  He also commended religious leaders for standing up for religious freedom with courage and civility.  Additionally, the Governor expressed concern over the rising number of attacks on places of worship across America and called on Nebraskans to combat anti-religious prejudice.

The Governor’s Religious Freedom Week proclamation is available by clicking here.