Former Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch to be recognized with award for sponsoring religious bills

Former Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch to be recognized with award for sponsoring religious bills

(Jacquelyn Martin, AP Photo, File)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Former Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is being recognized for his work in Congress to forward religious freedom.

According to a news release, Hatch has been named the 2020 Canterbury Medalist and will receive the award in New York City in May at the Canterbury Medal Gala, hosted by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a nonprofit that focuses on religious freedom.

Those who win the award have “demonstrated courage and commitment to defending religious freedom in America and around the world,” according to the organization.

Hatch sponsored the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993 and in 2000 he authored the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, both of which were overwhelmingly passed by Congress, the news release stated.

“Over more than four decades of Senate service, I worked to build coalitions of common interest to preserve religious liberty for people of all faiths. Protecting these rights is essential to the future of our republic,” Hatch said in a statement. “Receiving the Canterbury Medal is an incredible honor, and I am committed to always live worthy of it by remaining steadfast in my devotion to religious liberty.”

Other notable awardees from past ceremonies include the late Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Laureate and Holocaust survivor and President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Few lawmakers have done more for the cause of religious liberty than the ‘Father of RFRA,’ Senator Orrin G. Hatch,” said Mark Rienzi, president of Becket. “Senator Hatch’s legacy of championing protections for people of all faiths — and working across partisan lines to do so — has greatly strengthened religious liberty in the United States. His vital efforts will not soon be forgotten by advocates for religious liberty and those who can now freely practice their faith.”

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UtahReligion Staff


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