Via the folks at the Ethics and Public Policy Center:
WASHINGTON, May 24, 2012 — Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore received the American Religious Freedom Award today for his vigorous-but-gracious defense of religious liberty in the face of increasing hostility and legal and policy challenges. Archbishop Lori was presented the American Religious Freedom award at the closing ceremony of the National Religious Freedom Conference, “Rising Threats to American Religious Freedom” in Washington, D.C. The conference was hosted by the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s American Religious Freedom Program.
“The severity of the threats to our historic religious freedoms has increased dramatically in the past few years,” said Brian W. Walsh, executive director of the American Religious Freedom Program. “Archbishop Lori has led a staunch, well-reasoned defense of religious liberty in the face of high-level government opposition to the authority and teachings of the Church he serves. He has done so with great grace and civility and is an inspirational example for all who seek to protect America’s robust religious freedoms.”
Archbishop Lori received the award before a diverse assembly of about 200 religious, policy, academic, and business leaders, in addition to elected officials from across America. The conference educated participants about unprecedented domestic threats against religious rights and facilitated a discussion among state leaders who are fighting to stop the accelerating erosion of religious freedoms.
The increasing threats range from the recent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring religious employers to pay for contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs, to federal and state officials’ attempts to deny Americans the formerly unquestioned right to join together and choose their own leaders based on their religious faith.
Prior to being named Archbishop of Baltimore by Pope Benedict XVI in March and installed in May 2012, the Most Reverend William Edward Lori, S.T.D. served as the Fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut for over 10 years. In September 2011, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, named then-Bishop Lori to chair a new Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty to address growing concerns over the erosion of religious freedom in America. Archbishop Lori has led the bishops’ work with leaders of other faiths to educate their respective members on the importance of protecting religious freedom for Americans of all faiths.
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