Dr. Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, was chosen by the Religious Freedom Institute to receive the Defender of Religious Freedom Award, The Christian Post reports. The award will be presented on November 21, 2020, during a virtual ceremony.
This is the second year the Religious Freedom Institute, a Washington D.C.-based non-profit that "is committed to achieving broad acceptance of religious liberty as a fundamental human right," has distributed the award, which highlights someone each year who has worked tirelessly to defend and promote religious liberty. They chose Dr. Moore because he "defends the religious liberty of all people. He challenges believers to be better public witnesses to their faith, and he challenges secularists to have greater appreciation for the importance of religion in American public life," the institute said in a press release.
Dr. Moore agrees. One of his most iconic quotes that he is always found repeating in some way, shape, or form is "One thing we need to be very clear about is that religious liberty is not a government ‘benefit,’ but a natural and inalienable right granted by God."
In addition to being president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Dr. Moore also received Christianity Today's Book of the Year award twice for his 2016 book titled Onward: Engaging the Culture without Losing the Gospel and for his 2019 book titled The Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home. Additionally, in 2017 he was named one of Politico's top 50 influence-makers in Washington D.C.
The first Defender of Religious Freedom Award was given to H.E. Archbishop Charles Chaput in 2019 who received it for his "belief that if we are not able to live our lives according to our religious convictions, publicly as well as privately, alone and in community with others, none of us can be said to be living a fully human life," according to the Religious Freedom Institute's President Thomas Farr.
John Paluska has been a contributor for Christian Headlines since 2016 and is the founder of The Washington Gazette, a news outlet he relaunched in 2019 as a response to the constant distribution of fake news.