Download a copy of the Good News Press – Christmas/Winter Edition: Good News Press December 2021
Jesus’ Birth Foretold
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings,favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.
The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David;and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
The Birth of Jesus
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
Participant re-enters workforce, becomes financially stable homeowner
The Workforce Development Program at St. Vincent de Paul is a paid job training program aimed at helping the unemployed re-enter the workforce and find stable employment. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen millions suddenly find themselves out of work. In these hard times, it is more important than ever that job applicants understand workplace expectations and have the soft skills to be a contributing employee. The 24-week program teaches participants skills and techniques to find a job and be successful in the workplace, offering training in resume development, interviewing, and organizational skills in a supportive & compassionate environment. Mandatory orientation sessions, applicants should choose either the Pleasant Hill, Brentwood, or the Pittsburg sessions.
The Pleasant Hill Sessions take place on Thursday, Jan. 6 and Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, from 10 AM – 1 PM at Christ The King Church at 199 Brandon Road. The Brentwood Sessions take place on Saturday, Jan. 8 and Friday, Jan. 14 from 10 AM – 1PM at the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store at 8890 Brentwood Blvd. The Pittsburg Sessions will take place on Monday, Jan. 17 and Friday, Jan. 21 from 2 PM – 5 PM at the St. Vincent de Paul Family Resource Center at 2210 Gladstone Drive. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
The Workforce Development Program aims to help tear down the barriers that stand in the way of employment for individuals who have struggled to obtain and maintain employment. Participants work with mentors and take weekly classes to develop workplace skills. A new class of participants is selected every three months.
Participants gain paid, part-time, (22.5 hours per week), work experience in a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store or SVdP’s transportation department. Additional training in retail operations including cash register operations, inventory display and optimization, and warehouse operations is also provided.
Success for program participant is life-changing. Mary Turner, a graduate from SVdP’s Workforce Development Program, was living in her car when she began the program. A senior citizen, Mary found herself having to return to work when her rent increased beyond the means of her fixed income. After successfully graduating from the WFD program at St. Vincent de Paul, Mary found work as a medical support assistant. In October 2021, Mary purchased her first home in Stockton, California.
“It was hard, I was living on SSI and Disability, but my rent just kept increasing until I couldn’t afford it,” Mary said. “Now, I have a good job as an Advanced Medical Support Assistant (with the Veterans Administration), and I have my daughter and grand-babies stay in my home. If you want to be a home owner, it’s possible. It’s hard, it’s a struggle, but it’s worth it and it’s possible, and the people at St. Vincent de Paul showed me that.”
St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County has provided safety-net services in the county for over 57 years, serving 100,000 people annually and distributing over $1M of direct financial assistance and over $1.7M of in-kind aid. Over 750 SVdP volunteers and a small staff lead operations in Contra Costa including the SVdP Family Resource Center in Pittsburg, 28 branches, and 3 Thrift Stores. One of the largest charitable organizations in the world, St. Vincent de Paul is an international, nonprofit, Catholic lay organization of more than 800,000 men and women who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in 155 countries on five continents.
Made threats against Jewish community; used online account name “Adolf Hitler”; had assault rifle, ammunition, camouflage fatigues and Nazi paraphernalia
By Bobbi Mauler, Executive Assistant, Contra Costa County Office of the District Attorney
The Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton announced today that a jury has found Ross Farca of Concord, guilty of four felony charges and a misdemeanor hate crime relating to Farca’s June 4, 2019, possession of an assault weapon recovered after Facra posted anti-Semitic mass murder threats on an online gaming platform. (See related article)
“Ross Farca’s criminality disrupted the lives of countless members of the Jewish faith within our community,” Becton said. “Hate crimes and threats of this magnitude will not be tolerated.”
Farca used his account with the screen name “Adolf Hitler” and a reference to the 6 million people killed during the Holocaust and boasted he intended to copy another synagogue shooter and then kill responding law enforcement. During the search of Farca’s residence, Concord Police seized an assault rifle, along with 13 ammunition magazines, ammunition, camouflage fatigues, and Nazi paraphernalia.
In addition to the firearms and hate crime convictions, Farca was convicted of two counts of criminal threats made towards the lead investigating officer during the course of a follow up search of Farca’s residence on October 8, 2019.
“Mr. Farca is a serious danger to members of the Jewish faith,” said trial prosecutor Amber White. “I commend the quick investigative efforts of law enforcement to track the online activity back to Farca and thank the members of the jury for weighing the evidence and finding Mr. Farca responsible.”
Farca, at one time out on bail, was returned to custody where he remained for the duration of the case after the prosecution successfully argued Farca posed an ongoing threat to community safety. Now convicted, Farca is scheduled to be sentenced on December 29, 2021.
This year, Chanukah begins on the eve of Nov. 28, which is Nov. 29 according to the Jewish calendar and runs for eight days through the eve of Dec. 6. Chanukah celebrates the cleansing of the Temple following the revolt of the Maccabees against the Seleucid Greek Empire of Syria. Chanukah is known as the Festival of Lights, because it commemorates the traditional account of the miracle of finding one cruse of sacred oil—enough for one day—that lasted for eight days, the length of time it took to produce more sanctified oil for the N’er Tamid (Eternal Light) in the Temple. Chanukah is also known as the Festival of Dedication, as the Temple was sanctified again, and dedicated to true worship of the living God.
To remember that miracle, menorahs holding eight candles are lit, one per night, during the Chanukah celebration.
You’re invited to come, celebrate the Festival of Lights with Chabad of the Delta and our surrounding communities as we light the grand Menorah during the Community Celebration on Sunday December 5 at 4:30 pm at Brentwood City Park at 2nd and Oak Streets. Our local community leaders will participate in kindling the giant “Menorah of Freedom”. There will be fun activities for everyone including:
- Chanukah crafts, glitter art and a photo op!
- Delicious traditional latkes and donuts!
- A Grand Raffle!
- Saul Kaye Jewish Blues Musical entertainment!
- Acrobatic performance by Red Panda Acrobats!
For many of us, Chanukah prompts warm, loving memories from our childhood. We light the Menorah every night of the 8-night holiday. These lights offer warmth, joy, strength, inspiration and renews our sense of identity.
Rabbi Peretz Goldshmid, director of the Chabad of the Delta Jewish Center, describes Chanukah as “a holiday that enriches our lives with the light of tradition. In ancient times our ancestors rededicated the Temple in Jersusalem with the Menorah. Today, we rededicate ourselves to making this world a better and brighter place.”
Chabad of the Delta has placed Menorahs in Antioch in Waldie Plaza, in Oakley at City Hall on Main Street, another one in Brentwood at Balfour Road near Veterans Park, and this year we’ve placed a new in Discovery Bay at the Holiday Square on Discovery Bay Blvd.
As we celebrate in East Contra Costa, we join millions the world over, promoting the universal message that good will prevail over evil, freedom over oppression and light over darkness.
Make sure not to miss this opportunity to celebrate with your family and friends!
For more information and free Menorah Kits, contact Chabad of the Delta at (925) 420-4999 or online @ JewishDelta.com/Chanukah.
Governor must pay $1.35 million to reimburse churches’ attorney’s fees and costs
By Liberty Counsel
On Monday, May 17, 2021 a California District Court entered an order approving Liberty Counsel’s settlement of the lawsuit on behalf of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry against California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The full and final settlement was approved today the District Court and thus is the first state-wide permanent injunction in the country against COVID restrictions on churches and places of worship.
This is the first state-wide permanent injunction in the country against COVID restrictions on churches and places of worship. Under the agreed state-wide permanent injunction, all California churches may hold worship without discriminatory restrictions.
Under the settlement, California may no longer impose discriminatory restrictions upon houses of worship. The governor must also pay Liberty Counsel $1,350,000 to reimburse attorney’s fees and costs.
The settlement references several Supreme Court opinions, including Harvest Rock Church v. Newsom, that include a long list of similar nonreligious activity the High Court set forth as comparable gatherings. These include grocery stores, warehouses, big box stores, transportation, infrastructure, telecommunications, and much more. In other words, churches and places of worship may never again have discriminatory restrictions placed on them that are not equally applied to a long list of “critical infrastructure” or “essential services” as outlined in several Supreme Court precedents cited in the settlement agreement.
Pastor Ché Ahn, founder of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry, received a letter from the Pasadena Criminal Prosecutor threating him, the staff, and anyone who attends church with daily criminal charges each up to one year in prison, and daily fines of $1,000. Despite this intense opposition, Pastor Ahn stood against these unconstitutional executive orders. He risked criminal charges and fines, as did those who worked for the church and those who attended. Thanks to his leadership, every church in California is now free.
Newsom originally imposed the most severe restrictions on churches and even home Bible studies and worship in the nation. Now after multiple reprimands from the U.S. Supreme Court, including two on behalf of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry, Gov. Newsom will be the first governor in America to have a permanent injunction against him on behalf of houses of worship.
This case involved three emergency injunctions pending appeal at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, two oral arguments before a panel of three judges, two orders from the U.S. Supreme Court, including an injunction pending appeal issued by the High Court on February 5, 2021.
The timeline for actions regarding California’s worship restrictions include:
March 19, 2020 – May 25, 2020: No Worship
May 26, 2020 – July 12, 2020: 25 percent capacity but no more than 100 people
July 13, 2020 – April 8, 2021: No worship for over 90 percent of California
April 9, 2021 – April 12, 2021: Restrictions on home Bible study lifted but not on singing and chanting
April 13, 2021 – May 9, 2021: Mandatory attendance limits are lifted
May 17, 2021 – and Forever: Discriminatory restrictions on churches permanently removed
Under the settlement agreement, discriminatory restrictions on worship and religious gatherings may no longer be applied to churches and places of worship.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court granted an emergency petition for an injunction pending appeal on behalf of New York City synagogues and Roman Catholic churches in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo and Agudath Israel v. Cuomo. On December 3, 2020, the High Court granted the petition by Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry, setting aside all the lower court orders and directing them to follow its ruling in Roman Catholic Dioceses. When the lower courts refused to strike down California’s restrictions, the case returned to the Supreme Court.
On February 5, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry by enjoining California’s total ban on indoor worship. This was the second time Liberty Counsel appealed to the High Court on behalf of these churches. The ruling also included South Bay United Pentecostal Church.
On April 9, the U.S. Supreme Court granted an emergency injunction pending appeal in Tandon v. Newsom and ruled that Gov. Newsom’s restrictions on home Bible study and worship violate the First Amendment.
Pastor Ché Ahn said, “This is a momentous day for churches in America! After nearly a yearlong battle defending our religious freedoms, our lawsuit has reached a permanent settlement in our favor. I am thrilled to see the complete reversal of the last discriminatory restrictions against churches in California, knowing this case will act as a precedent, not only in our state, but also in our nation. We are incredibly grateful to our attorney Mat Staver and to Liberty Counsel for their relentless support and fierce determination. Most of all, we give all the glory to God for moving mightily in this historic season!”
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Governor Gavin Newsom’s COVID restrictions intentionally discriminated against churches while providing preferential treatment to many secular businesses and gatherings. The Supreme Court intervened multiple times to provide relief. California may never again place discriminatory restrictions on churches and places of worship. Gov. Gavin Newsom has now been permanently quarantined and may not violate the First Amendment rights of churches and places of worship again. We are grateful for Pastor Ché Ahn, Harvest Rock Church, and Harvest International Ministry. Pastor Ahn’s leadership and courage has toppled the tyranny and freed every pastor and church in California.”
By Connie Woods
The biggest celebration within Christianity may be Christmas, but the most important celebration is Easter. The entire basis for the Christian faith is based on the events that occurred on the first Easter weekend. While Christmas is about how Jesus came to earth as a baby, Easter is about the reason he came. Christians believe the whole reason he came was to die and to rise again.
Most historians agree on these facts, which are the foundational events of Christianity:
- Jesus Christ was executed by crucifixion on the Friday during the Jewish Passover.
- He was buried in a tomb owned by Joseph of Arimathea.
- Guards were posted to keep watch over the tomb.
- On the third day, the tomb was found to be empty. His body could not be found, nor could the Roman or Jewish authorities explain what had happened to it.
- Over the next forty days, his disciples plus hundreds of other people claimed to have seen Jesus, spoken with him, eaten with him, and listened to his teachings.
These disciples (and others) went to their deaths – some through torture – maintaining that their claims of seeing a resurrected Jesus were true.
Those are the historical facts. The significance is found in the interpretation of those facts. Christians maintain that the tomb was empty and that there were post-crucifixion sightings of Jesus because Jesus had physically risen from the dead. This, combined with the apparent fulfillment of centuries-old prophecies contained in the Jewish Scriptures, firmly established the belief that Jesus was God in the flesh and that he had power and authority over life and death.
This belief in the resurrection of Jesus spread rapidly throughout the Roman Empire and it continues to spread today. For nearly 2000 years, Christians have placed their faith in this resurrected Jesus, believing his promise that he will someday return to take his followers to be with him throughout eternity.
Woods is the publisher of Good News Press and a resident of Antioch in Eastern Contra Costa County.
Good News Press is an outreach Christian publication, the San Francisco Bay Area’s Christian newspaper, sharing the good news of God’s love through his Son. The publication proclaims the gospel message and features News, Events, Inspiring Christian articles, and more! The website also features a Christian business directory. www.goodnewspress.us
In Good News Press Spring 2021 Issue:
Read the complete edition by clicking Good News Press Spring 2021 16 pages
Significance & Historical Facts of Easter
How the Date of Easter is Determined
Just Pray No Weekend of Prayer & Fasting
What is Good Friday?
Women at the Tomb – Jesus Is Risen
A Biblical Perspective on the Border Crisis
TBN Set to air Full Slate of New Programming to Celebrate Easter Weekend
Myanmar Massacre, GFA Calls for World Prayer Amid Military Coup
God Gives Us Hope In A Crisis
Christian Leaders Ask President Biden to Support Israel & Combat Anti-Semitism by
What is the Pre Tribulation Rapture?
Remote work has Dramatic Implications
Sen. Rick Brittans’s Capitol Report of March 29: Saying “No” to Vaccine Passports
There’s a Lot that can go wrong with Vaccine Passports
Will you ditch your PC for a QC?
Romans Road to Salvation
Will allow indoor worship services, indoor dining and movie theaters at 50% capacity, gyms at 25%
Sheriff: Jail Population Down 27% Due to COVID-19
By Daniel Borsuk
During their meeting on Tuesday, March 23, 2021, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors were given good news from the county’s health officer about COVID-19 restrictions, accepted a federal grant to assist residential tenants and extended protections for commercial tenants through June 30.
County to Enter Orange Tier on April 7
Contra Costa County Public Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano told supervisors that by April 7 the county should move from the Red Tier to the less restrictive Orange Tier as the county’s COVID-19 hospitalization rate begins to decline. Dr. Farnitano said the county’s current hospitalization rate 5.8 percent per 100 persons is too high and must get to a 4.2 percent hospitalization rate.
When the county goes from Red to Orange Tiers, indoor worship services, indoor dining and movie theaters can increase from 25 to 50 percent capacity, and gyms can increase from 10 to 25 percent capacity with modifications.
Dr. Farnitano said that cutting the distance for student desks in classrooms from six feet to three feet “will provide additional flexibility for school districts to bring back students safely.”
Accept Federal Rental Housing Grant
Supervisors unanimously approved a $514,445 Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program grant that will assist households with up to 80 percent Area Medium Income with a priority for those up to 50 percent AMI with a funding focused to ensure rental arrears are addressed to stabilize households and prevent evictions.
The program will be administered by three non-profit housing organizations – RYSE Center, which convenes the more than 200 member West County COVID Community Care Coalition, the Family Justice Center that covers Concord. Pleasant Hill. Martinez, and the East Contra Costa Community Care Alliance.
Protections for Commercial Tenants Extended Through June 30
Supervisors unanimously approved Urgency Ordinance No. 2021-11 to continue the temporary prohibition on evictions of certain small-business commercial tenants financially impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic. This protection now continues through June 30, 2021. Protections for residential tenants were unchanged by the urgency ordinance and last through June 30, 2021.
“As we make progress together toward ending the COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses in our community are still struggling and need help,” said Board Chair Dianne Burgis of Brentwood. “Today’s board action will extend that helping hand for small businesses even as we continue to help eligible renters and landlords during this time. Let us continue to work together to find resources and ways to move forward.”
The ordinance also bars landlords from charging late fees to small business and nonprofit tenants, and extends to August 31, 2021, the grace period to pay back rent.
Sheriff ‘s Office Responds to Public Protection Committee/Racial Protection Committee Questions: Jail Population Down 27% Due to COVID-19
In a consent action, supervisors approved a Public Protection Committee report where the Sheriff’s Office and Health Services responded to questions about the treatment of inmates in jail facilities. It marks the first time the Sheriff’s Office has responded to questions emanating from the committee with input from the Board of Supervisors’ Racial Justice Oversight Body.
Main Conclusion: due to the COVID- 19 pandemic, jail population is down 27 percent.
In a Feb. 18 report to the Public Protection Committee, Assistant Sheriff Steve Simpkins reported as of Jan. 15, 2021, “We have released 1,574 arrestees who were eligible for $0 bail. This information was to comply with a request on information about how many inmates were detained because they cannot afford cash bail.”
The Sheriff’s report stated, “In January and February 2020 (pre COVID-19) the Sheriff’s Office received an average of 1,753 arrestees being booked at the Martinez Detention Facility. The monthly average of arrestees booked between March 1 2020 and December 31, 2020 (during pandemic) is 946, a drop of nearly 50%.” the report said.
“The average daily inmate population in February 2020 (pre COVID-19) of all physical facilities combined was 1,093. The average daily inmate population in December 2020 (during pandemic) of all physical facilities was 795. That is a 27 percent sustained reduction in the average daily inmate population. This morning’s population was 715 (1/22/2021).”
“Seventy Sheriff’s Office employees from the Custody Services Bureau have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began. All have recovered,” the report said, “and are back to work except for the most recent three who ae out for quarantine.”
After winning at the Oakland Diocese Chapter level, five youths from East County advanced to the State Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship where they had great success. Here are the results:
Eric Mendoza of Antioch STATE CHAMPION in the 14-Year-Old Boys competition;
Brigida Coria of Brentwood is STATE CHAMPION in the 14-Year-Old Girls category
Ryan Wisely of Oakley is STATE CHAMPION for 9-Year-Old Boys;
Kylie Wisely also of Oakley is STATE CHAMPION in the 13-Year-Old Girls competition; and
Lilyana Ponce of Antioch took 2nd Place at State in the 12-Year-Old Girls category;
The Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship is sponsored annually, with winners progressing through local, district, and jurisdictional competitions. International champions are announced by the Knights of Columbus international headquarters based on scores from the jurisdiction-level competitions. All boys and girls ages 8 to 14 are eligible to participate and will compete in their respective age divisions. Participants are required to furnish proof of age and written parental consent.
Council #3265 in Antioch, CA is one of 17,000 Knights of Columbus councils that make up the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization. Founded in 1882 to assist working-class and immigrant Catholics
in the United States, today the approximately two million members of the Knights put their faith into action through a broad range of charitable causes locally, nationally and internationally with financial contributions and hands-on service.
This year marks the 235th anniversary of the signing of Virginia’s Statute for Religious Freedom. The statute would eventually become a foundational principle in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which preserves an individual’s right to belief and to choose and exercise faith without government coercion or reprisal. Since 1993, every U.S President has issued a proclamation on January 16 to commemorate National Religious Freedom and celebrate America’s first freedom.
Proclamation on Religious Freedom Day, 2021
Issued on January 15, 2021
Faith inspires hope. Deeply embedded in the heart and soul of our Nation, this transcendent truth has compelled men and women of uncompromising conscience to give glory to God by worshiping both openly and privately, lifting up themselves and others in prayer. On Religious Freedom Day, we pledge to always protect and cherish this fundamental human right.
When the Pilgrims first crossed the Atlantic Ocean more than 400 years ago in pursuit of religious freedom, their dedication to this first freedom shaped the character and purpose of our Nation. Later, with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, their deep desire to practice their religion unfettered from government intrusion was realized. Since then, the United States has set an example for the world in permitting believers to live out their faith in freedom.
Over the past 4 years, my Administration has worked tirelessly to honor the vision of our Founders and defend our proud history of religious liberty. From day one, we have taken action to restore the foundational link between faith and freedom and promote a culture of religious liberty. My Administration has protected the rights of individual religious believers, communities of faith, and faith-based organizations. We have defended religious liberty domestically and around the world. For example, I signed an Executive Order Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty to ensure that faith-based organizations would not be forced to compromise their religious beliefs as they serve their communities. This includes defending the rights of religious orders to care for the infirm and elderly without being fined out of existence for refusing to facilitate access to services that violate their faith.
We have also protected healthcare providers’ rights not to be forced to perform procedures that violate their most deeply-held convictions. Additionally, we have ended the misguided policies of denying access to educational funding to historically black colleges and universities because of their religious character and of denying loan forgiveness to those who perform public services at religious organizations. Throughout this difficult year, we have continued these efforts, cutting red tape to ensure houses of worship and other faith-based organizations could receive Paycheck Protection Program loans on the same grounds and with the same parameters as any other entity. We have also aggressively defended faith communities against overreach by State and local governments that have tried to shut down communal worship. Together, we have honored the sanctity of every life, protected the rights of Americans to follow their conscience, and preserved the historical tradition of religious freedom in our country.
While Americans enjoy the blessings of religious liberty, we must never forget others around the world who are denied this unalienable right. Sadly, millions of people across the globe are persecuted and discriminated against for their faith. My Administration has held foreign governments accountable for trampling — in many cases, egregiously so — on religious liberty. In 2019, to shed light on this important issue, I welcomed survivors of religious persecution from 16 countries in the Oval Office, including Christians, Jews, and Muslims, and made history by standing before the United Nations General Assembly and calling on all nations of the world to stop persecuting people of faith. The United States will never waver in these efforts to expand religious liberty around the world and calls on all nations to respect the rights of its citizens to live according to their beliefs and conscience.
On Religious Freedom Day, we honor the vision of our Founding Fathers for a Nation made strong and righteous by a people free to exercise their faith and follow their conscience. As Americans united in unparalleled freedom, we recommit to safeguarding and preserving religious freedom across our land and around the world.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 16, 2021, as Religious Freedom Day. I call on all Americans to commemorate this day with events and activities that remind us of our shared heritage of religious liberty and that teach us how to secure this blessing both at home and around the world.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.
DONALD J. TRUMP