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Senator Orrin G. Hatch to be awarded religious liberty's highest honor

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Sen. Hatch to be awarded religious liberty's highest honor. (Photo: KUTV)

Senator Orrin G. Hatch is being recognized for his defense of religious liberty for people of all faiths.

According to a press release, Hatch has been named Becket's 2020 Canterbury Medalist, for his role in passing fundamental legislation in religious freedom. The Canterbury Medal, religious liberty's highest honor, recognizes those individuals who have demonstrated and committed to defending religious freedoms in America and around the world. The organization stated that "Senator Orin Hatch's legacy is marked by civil discourse, principal leadership, and unfailing dedication to the defense of religious liberty for all."

Becket will honor Hatch with the 2020 Canterbury Medal at it's annual gala in New York on Thursday, May 21.

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,” said Senator Orrin G. Hatch. “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.

Senator Hatch became the longest-serving Republican and Utahn in U.S. Senate history serving for 42 years. He earned his reputation as "one of the most effective and bipartisan lawmakers of all time." He sponsored and co-sponsored over 750 bills that have become law, one of his most prized legislative successes was the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 1993. This bill was passed by majorities in both houses and Congress signed it into law by President Bill Clinton.

“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.”

Past medalists include the late Nobel Peace Laureate and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel; Cuban poet and former political prisoner, Armando Valladares; Orthodox rabbi of the oldest Jewish congregation in the U.S., Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik; First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Dallin H. Oaks; and 62nd Chaplain of the U.S. Senate, Chaplain Barry C. Black.