June 20, 2009

Lotz Receives International Religious Liberty Award

Eron Henry, Associate Director of Communications
Neville Callam, General Secretary
Baptist World Alliance
June 19, 2009

Denton Lotz, former general secretary of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA), received the International Award for Religious Liberty on Thursday, June 18, in Washington , DC , in the United States .

Lotz, who was named General Secretary Emeritus upon his retirement from the BWA in 2007, was awarded for making “religious freedom a major focus of his ministry as church leader and church statesman,” at the 7th Annual Religious Liberty Dinner, which was sponsored by Liberty magazine, the International Religious Liberty Association (IRLA), and the Seventh Day Adventist Church .

In his response, Lotz, who is president of the IRLA, stated that the award was recognition of the role that Baptists have played in the defense of religious liberty since the founding of the Baptist movement 400 years ago, in 1609. Baptists, he said, were often persecuted because of their anti-establishment stance and their defense of the liberty of conscience. “Baptists were a persecuted group,” he told the roughly 300 guests gathered in the ballroom of the Capital Hilton hotel in Washington . “We believe that where religious freedom is denied, all other freedoms are denied,” he explained.

Keynote speaker for the dinner was Emanuel Cleaver, II, United States Congressman from Kansas City in the state of Missouri , and co-chair of the International Religious Freedom Caucus in the US Congress. “Religious freedom is a God-given gift, a sacred right,” said Cleaver, an ordained United Methodist Church minister and the first African American elected as mayor of Kansas City . “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, yet persecutions and atrocities are still taking place," Cleaver stated.

For the full release: http://www.bwanet.org/default.aspx?pid=1102

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