WHEREAS, since its inception, the United States of America has served as a refuge and haven for oppressed people fleeing religious and political persecution; and
WHEREAS, freedom of religion is at the heart of civil liberties and democratic values; and
WHEREAS, America has been the standard of religious freedom since Rhode Island's Royal Charter of 1633 recognized "full liberties in religious concernements;" and
WHEREAS, the Declaration of Independence enshrined the self-evident concept that "all [persons] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness;" and
WHEREAS, the 1786 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, written by Thomas Jefferson, affirmed that people should not "suffer on account of [their] religious opinions or belief;" and
WHEREAS, the first of all freedoms enumerated in the Bill of Rights is "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;" and
WHEREAS, the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution guarantees the equal protection of the law for all individuals regardless of race, religion, national origin or other arbitrary factors; and
WHEREAS, an open society is enriched by the ethnic, religious, intellectual, scientific and cultural heritage of humankind; and
WHEREAS, minority ethnic and religious groups in the United States have suffered the damaging consequences of racial and religious bigotry, nativism, hate crimes, mob violence, intimidation, bullying and other forms of vigilantism; and
WHEREAS, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the 1988 Civil Liberties Act, which admitted that the government's registration and internment of 127,000 Japanese Americans following Pearl Harbor was based on "racial prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership;" and
WHEREAS the NAACP welcomes any and all efforts to educate and promote understanding and good will among the diverse communities, young and old that are an integral part of the United States of America's rich history and heritage.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP reaffirms its commitment to protect the civil liberties and religious freedoms of all Americans, including immigrants and refugees seeking a sanctuary against religious and political persecution; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP will advocate to protect the constitutional rights of religious minorities and all those subject to discriminatory and prejudicial actions, proposals, and intimidation.