Dinner Highlights - 2007

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Senator John F. Kerry

During Senator John Kerry’s 19 years on the Senate, he has served as the Chairman of the Finance Committee Subcommittee on Security, Pensions and Family Policy, is a Member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and has worked tirelessly on the Foreign Relations Committee, which works to ensure that U.S. foreign policy advances the cause of fundamental rights around the world. Senator Kerry leads the effort to pass the Workplace Religious Freedom Act in the U.S. Senate – a bill designed to ensure all people of faith are treated fairly in the workplace. He has a lifetime of distinguished services as a soldier, a peace activist, a prosecutor, a lieutenant governor, a U.S. Senator and a candidate for President in 2004.

Discussing the Workplace Religious Freedom Act at the 2007 Religious Liberty Dinner, Kerry said, “Religious pluralism is a source of strength – it always has been. That is why I support the Workplace Religious Freedom Act… As the soul singer Solomon Burke once sang, ‘None of us are free, if one of us is chained.’”

Speech

Excerpts from the speech given by Senator John F. Kerry at the 2007 Religious Liberty Dinner at the Washington, D.C., Capital Hilton.

I'd like to thank everyone here from the coalition for religious liberty, especially James Standish of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Richard Foltin of the American Jewish Committee. People everywhere owe an immense debt of gratitude to both of you for the work you do to protect religious freedom.

As the soul singer Solomon Burke once sang, "None of us are free, if one of us is chained." And none of us are free, when any one of us feels his faith is unwelcome in the workplace - or anywhere in American life. We are all shortchanged when we deny others a chance to educate us about the customs and values of their religious practice...

Ever since settlers fled religious persecution in Europe and reached these shores, America's religiousness has been a tremendous source of strength for the country. Religious helped American civil rights leaders stand firm in the face of police dogs, fire hoses, and the withering, implacable hatred of segregationists. And today it helps evangelical Christians to lead the charge against genocide in Darfur.

Religious pluralism is a source of strength - it always has been. That is why I support the Workplace Religious Freedom Act - and have ever since I first introduced it back in 1996... It's about religious people feeling comfortable in the workplace. It's about never leaving anyone with the idea that practicing their religion and being American are in conflict.

That is who we are as Americans - and I will fight to make sure we stay that way.