Brookings Institute Senior Fellow William Galston Honored for
Career Protecting Religious Liberty
WASHINGTON, June 18, 2013—The Brookings Institution’s William A. Galston was honored with the 2013 American Religious Freedom Award at the National Religious Freedom Conferencein Washington, D.C., on May 30, 2013. Galston’s achievement comes on the 20-year anniversary of the landmark Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
“While serving as a senior advisor to President Bill Clinton, Galston was instrumental in shepherding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into federal law,” said Brian Walsh, executive director of EPPC’s American Religious Freedom Program, which sponsored the conference. Walsh added that Galston “has defended RFRA with brilliance and great civility.”
“Religious liberty belongs to no party, no ideology, no creed,” Galston said in his remarks. “It is our common property and shared inheritance. Even when we fall short of that ideal, as we almost always will, we should strive toward it.”
Galston was presented the award by Dr. Richard Land, who completed his 24-year tenure as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission last month and now serves as president of Southern Evangelical Seminary. Catholic Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore was the recipient of the inaugural American Religious Freedom Award in 2012.
The over 200 attendees at the national conference titled “Many Faiths, One America” included representatives of the Catholic, evangelical Christian, mainline Protestant, Latter-day Saint, Eastern Orthodox, Orthodox Jewish, Seventh-day Adventist, Muslim and Sikh faith communities. They were joined by policy leaders and state legislators from across the country and across party lines and heard major addresses from Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik and Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, representing the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. (Lantos Swett also chairs the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.)
Participants were briefed by key faith and government leaders on threats facing religious freedom in America today and on bipartisan and multi-faith efforts to enact new protections for religious liberty and rights of conscience. Speakers also included state lawmakers of both parties in attendance representing more than 15 states, many of which have passed or enacted important religious freedom protections in 2013.
About the American Religious Freedom Program
The Ethics and Public Policy Center's American Religious Freedom Program is a nonprofit program devoted to protecting and strengthening all Americans' First Amendment rights to the free exercise of religion. The program brings together individuals and organizations of all religious faiths, regardless of ideology or political affiliation.