Religious Liberty Dinner Held on Capitol Hill

April 7, 2003

Silver Spring, MD, USA...[IRLA news]."Religious freedom is woven into the heart of what makes us Americans," said John Hanford, United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, in his opening address at the Religious Freedom Awards Dinner on April 2.

The dinner was jointly sponsored by Liberty Magazine, International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA), the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the North American (NARLA) Chapter of the IRLA. It was held in the beautiful Russell Senate Caucus Room, where the Watergate trials were also held.

"The event provided an unprecedented opportunity to present our religious liberty program, and Liberty magazine in particular, before a wide cross-section of diplomats, legislators, and religious liberty activists," said Lincoln Steed, Liberty magazine editor.

Those honored at the dinner were Congressman Christopher Smith, Victor Krushenitsky (Russia), the Honorable Grant Ipsen (Idaho), Gerald Chipeur (Canada), Dr. Adrian Westney (Maryland), Lee Boothby (D.C.), Lewis Stout (Georgia), Arthur Morgan (New York), Daniel Robles (California), Robert McCumber (Colorado), and Penny Ancel (Michigan). Also in attendance were ambassadors from several countries.

Dr. Adrian Westney received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding religious liberty work.

"These individuals have played a pivotal role in advancing religious freedom in the various communities they serve in, and we were honored by their presence," said Dr. John Graz, IRLA secretary-general. "Conflicts often arise because of lack of tolerance, and it was a good reminder to everyone present that we must continue in our fight to promote principles of tolerance and religious freedom."

Congressman Smith, who has been involved in politics for 23 years, commented that, "Governments exist to protect basic fundamental rights like religious freedom."

The IRLA hopes the initiative taken in organizing such an event will continue to raise awareness of religious liberty issues in North America. The IRLA is a non-sectarian association, chartered in 1893, to promote principles of religious freedom around the world. For more information, visit www.irla.org. [Viola Hughes]


Ambassador Hanford giving his speech.

Victor Krushenitsky, one of the honorees from Moscow, Russia.

Dr. Adrian Westney receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award

Greg Hamilton (from the North Pacific Union region) with Senator Ipsen (Idaho)

L to R: Lee Boothy (one of the honorees) with Dr. Graz and Krushenitsky

Dr. Graz congratulating Congressman Smith

L to R: Dr. Graz, Dr. Hodges and Pastor Morgan.