Becket Fund Founder Seamus Hasson Receives 2011 Religious Liberty Award

Jordan Pendergrass

Kevin J. “Seamus” Hasson, founder of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, has successfully defended religious liberty in the courts of law, the court of public opinion, and the academy. His accomplishments, both in the United States and abroad, have benefitted the religious rights of people from “A to Z,” from Anglicans to Zoroastrians. In recognition of his work and great character, Mr. Hasson received the International Religious Liberty Award on 6 October 2011 in Washington, DC. As Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard University has observed, “no persons will be more deserving of celebration than the truly great lawyers of the Becket Fund and its courageous President, the silver-tongued Seamus Hasson.”

The DC Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, in connection with the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at BYU, presented the Religious Liberty Award to Mr. Hasson before an assembly of religious liberty advocates and international guests. The recipient of last year’s award, Senator Joseph Lieberman, contributed remarks to the event, and additional tributes were paid to Mr. Hasson by Elder Lance B. Wickman, General Counsel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Professor Cole Durham and Dean James Rasband of the J. Reuben Clark Law School, and Hannah Smith, Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

During his remarks, Mr. Hasson expressed appreciation for the honor and reiterated the need to protect the fundamental freedoms of religion and conscience. Referring to a Supreme Court hearing earlier in the week of a case involving religious liberty, Mr. Hasson described how vulnerable this human right is, despite its God-given quality. He affirmed his solidarity with people of faith, and concluded with a simple invitation to keep swimming, because the fight is not over yet.

The event was made possible by the Host Committee, Event Sponsors, and the Sterling and Eleanor Colton Chair in Law and Religion.