New York City, N.Y., May 14, 2016 / 16:54 pm
Everyone must be true to their own conscience, a religious freedom advocate and former political prisoner told a gala audience on Thursday.
"Even when we have nothing, each person and only that person possesses the key to his or her own conscience, his or her own sacred castle," Armando Valladares, a former prisoner of conscience in Cuban prisons, said upon reception of the 2016 Canterbury Medal bestowed by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty May 12.
"In that respect, each of us, though we may not have an earthly castle or even a house, each of us is richer than a king or queen," he continued.
Valladares, who spent 22 years in prison for refusing to support the communist government in Cuba, received the 2016 Canterbury Medal, given for "courage in defense of religious liberty." Past medal recipients include Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, former Ambassador to the Vatican Jim Nicholson, and Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel.