Dinner Highlights - 2008
2008 Liberty Article
“I truly believe that this is the true mark of respect for religious freedom—when you stand up not only for your own rights, but when you also stand up for those of your neighbor, even when they believe something that may be radically different from you. You see, true tolerance is not in pretending that you have no differences; true tolerance is in loving and respecting your neighbor in spite of those differences,” said Trent Franks, United States congressman (R-AZ-2nd) and co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on International Religious Freedom, at the sixth annual Religious Liberty Dinner, held at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., June 12.
These remarks were part of his keynote address to dinner attendees, who included foreign ambassadors, federal government staffers, and leaders from the NGO and faith communities. Sponsored by Liberty magazine, the International Religious Liberty Association, and the North American Religious Liberty Association, the event is an opportunity to honor those who work to preserve religious freedom in the United States and champion its necessity abroad.
Rep. Franks told attendees that protecting religious freedom at home is key to ensuring similar freedoms around the world, and that “it’s critical that other nations join with us in reaffirming this foundational human right and stand for the freedom of all people to choose their religious beliefs.”
Honorees at this year’s event included UC Davis School of Law professor Alan E. Brownstein, a nationally recognized constitutional law scholar whose assistance is often sought by advocacy groups on issues relating to religious liberty and equality; Zaoksky Adventist University Bible Translation Institute director Mikhail Kulakov, Sr., who endured persecution and imprisonment for his religious teachings and beliefs in the former Soviet Union; and former aid worker Carl Wilkens, who was stationed in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, and stayed behind to help save hundreds of lives in Kigali.
“It is vital that we continue to make this annual statement for the importance of religious freedom in the capital of the United States of America,” says Lincoln Steed, editor of Liberty, major financial sponsor of the event. “We will continue to honor individuals and nations like the United States for upholding this most indispensable of freedoms.”