Joined by a variety of religious leaders and a dozen state senators, Gov. Pete Ricketts on Monday celebrated religious freedom in the United States by signing a proclamation declaring Religious Freedom Day in Nebraska.
"Our ancestors came to this country in part to have religious freedom," Ricketts said.
And Nebraska has a long history of welcoming people of various religious faiths to the state, including most recently the Yazidis who fled persecution in northern Iraq and settled in large numbers in Lincoln.
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"We foster and protect religious freedom," the governor said.
Ricketts said attacks on religious beliefs and groups continue today and must be resisted to protect religious freedom for everyone, citing recent deadly assaults on Jewish synagogues in California and New York.
And, he said, during the recent Senate confirmation hearing for U.S. District Court Judge Brian Buescher of Nebraska, questions were raised about his association with the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization that focuses on fighting poverty.
That represented "a religious test," Ricketts said, and it was correctly rejected by the U.S. Senate.
Religious freedom in the United States is a treasured liberty, he said.
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