Religious Freedom Center’s Charles Haynes Honored at Hindu American Foundation Capitol Hill Reception

Washington, DC (June 22, 2017) — At its 14th annual Capitol Hill Reception, the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) honored Charles Haynes, Vice President of the Newseum Institute and Director of the Religious Freedom Center, with the Mahatma Gandhi Award for the Advancement of Religious Pluralism.

Suhag Shukla, Esq., HAF Executive Director, described Haynes “as accomplished as he is humble” and noted that “religious liberty in this country and awareness about the First Amendment has been profoundly shaped by his deeply committed and principled leadership.”

Upon receiving the award, Haynes said he was honored “to be recognized by the Hindu American Foundation, a much-needed voice for a growing and significant part of the American mosaic, [which is] working to protect the religious liberty of all—not just Hindus— HAF is helping to create a level playing field in America for people of all religious and worldviews, the only way forward for building on nation of many cultures and faiths.”

“At the Religious Freedom Center, we share that mission,” Haynes continued. “Religious freedom is not guaranteed by legislators and judges alone—as important as they are. Religious freedom depends on the willingness of Americans to stand up for the rights of others, including those with whom we deeply disagree.”

Over the past twenty years, Charles Haynes has been the principal organizer and drafter of consensus guidelines on religious liberty in schools, endorsed by a broad range of religious and educational organizations. In January 2000, three of the guides were distributed by the US Department of Education to every public school in the nation. The Foundation has worked with Dr. Haynes for well over a decade on issues ranging from the portrayal of Hinduism in public school textbooks to religious liberty in the public square.

HAF bestows the Mahatma Gandhi Award for the Advancement of Religious Pluralism upon those individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to furthering the cause of inter-religious cooperation and religious pluralism and respect. Former recipients of this award include Rev. Welton Gaddy from the Interfaith Alliance; Prof. Arvind Sharma of McGill University; Rev. Canon Dr. Gwynne Guibord, Rev. Karen Macqueen, and the Right Reverend J. Jon Bruno, Bishop, all of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles; and Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.