Washington, DC – Interfaith Alliance announced today that the 2011 Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award will be 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. The awards will be presented at a gala dinner in New York City on Sunday evening, November 13, 2011.
“Jim 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,” said Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of Interfaith Alliance. “Jim has set the standard for unbiased, straightforward 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 trailblazer 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.”
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, and regularly presented the award himself until his death in 2009.
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 and 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 at interfaithalliance.org/gala, along with information on how to purchase tickets for the event.
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.