2011 Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Awards

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The 14th Annual Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award Gala

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Jim Lehrer

The 2011 Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award was presented to PBS anchor Jim Lehrer, and the Rt. Rev. Jane Holmes Dixon, the second woman ever named as a bishop in the Episcopal Church. Presented in New York City at the 14th Annual Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award Gala on November 13, 2011, in the Prince George Ballroom.


The Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award, established by Interfaith Alliance in 1998, recognizes individuals who courageously promote democratic values, defend religious freedom and reinvigorate informed civic participation. The award recognizes individuals whose actions have embodied the values of civility, tolerance, diversity and cooperation in the advancement of public dialogue and public policy on traditionally controversial and divisive issues. Mr. Cronkite served as Honorary Chairman of Interfaith Alliance until his death in 2009.

Bishop Jane Holmes DixonJim Lehrer and Jane Holmes Dixon represent the best of what Walter Cronkite stood for as one of the most respected journalists of his time and as a citizen of this country deeply committed to protecting religious freedom. Jim has set the standard for unbiased, straight forward reporting over the last half century and currently provides a much-needed model for quiet civility in the midst of loud rancor. Jane has been a trail blazer within her own church, opening doors for women and members of the LGBT community and demonstrating compassionate inclusion in her ministry. As a past Chair of Interfaith Alliance’s board and member of its staff, Bishop Dixon’s impact on this organization and on the nation cannot be overstated. Ours is the good fortune of recognizing two moral giants in their respective professions.

As a special treat this year, award-winning country singer Chely Wright honored our two recipients with a performance. Chely also embodies the best of what Walter Cronkite stood for. At the great cost of much of her fan base, Chely openly identified her same-sex orientation with pride, poise and grace. As a musician who is a source of inspiration for many people, Chely has been a strong supporter of Interfaith Alliance.

Country Artist Chely Wright performs at the 2011 Walter Cronkite Faith and Freedom Awards


Past recipients of the Cronkite award include actor and activist George Clooney, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, CNN’s Larry King, journalists Bill & Judith Moyers, U.S. Representatives Chet Edwards & Amo Houghton, the Rev. Joan Brown Campbell, Rev. Dr. James Forbes, Rabbi Steven Jacobs and activist Judy Shepard. A full list of past honorees can be found here.