Leo J. Ryan Award
to Bob Minton
Priscilla Coates (President of the Leo J.
Ryan Education Foundation):
first Leo J. Ryan award was given in 1981. Leo J.
Ryan was a congressman from the Bay area of California,
who became concerned about Jim Jones and the Peoples
Temple. He investigated. He became more concerned.
He became so concerned about his constituents and
their families that he went to Jonestown, Guyana.
He thought, I believe, that he was protected by the
press. The press, I believe, thought they were protected
by a U.S. congressman. Instead, both press and Congressman
Leo J. Ryan were assassinated in Jonestown, Guyana,
November 18, 1978.
think he is the only congressman to be assassinated
in the line of duty.
Ryan was caring, and he was courageous. The first
Leo J. Ryan award was given, as I said, twenty years
ago, in the fall of 1981. A bit of irony here: I was
the first presenter. Sometimes it seems longer than
first award went to an assemblyman from New York State,
Harold Lasher. Howard Lasher had become concerned
about the care of children in destructive cults. So
he held hearings in New York City. He was harassed,
and that is probably a very mild word when I think
back on it. But he persevered, and he presented legislation
to the New York State legislature.
award was presented in New York City, in a building
near the top floor, overlooking the United Nations
and the East River. It was about 5:00 in the afternoon,
and the sun was going down -- quite an interesting
individual who receives the Leo J. Ryan award is one
who has demonstrated the courage and commitment that
Congressman Ryan showed in the extreme; that individual
who feels a duty as a human being to preserve and
protect our most basic human rights.
year we are proud, and Congressman Ryan would be proud
to present the award to Mr. Robert Minton.
award says: "In recognition of his extraordinary
courage, tenacity, and perseverance in the battle
against tyranny over the mind of man."
you so much.
would like to thank the entire Board of Directors
of the Leo J. Ryan Educational Foundation and its
Executive Director, Julia Bronder, for this distinguished
am particularly honored to receive the Leo J. Ryan
award from the hands of Priscilla Coates. It is, after
all, through Priscilla's hands that the legacy of
this award flows - from the Citizens Freedom Foundation
to the Cult Awareness Network - and now the Leo J.
Ryan Educational Foundation.
you, Priscilla, for all you have done and for this
remember in February 1999, the personal excitement
I felt as a member of this audience when Bill and
Lorna Goldberg received this award, and again in March
2000, when Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman were so honored.
Those moments, like tonight, were electric moments
for me, and I hope that all of you share some of my
excitement. That truly makes this an award for all
the events of September 11th, we have seen that our
freedoms are under much greater attack than our complacency
allowed us to believe. These terrorist acts have brought
us face to face with the fundamental reality that
the heritage of all our freedoms is derived from God.
Complacency with our freedoms, however, is not new
to us as a nation nor is the courage to right the
wrongs done to our fellow men a new concept.
1860, Abraham Lincoln asked how our nation could live
half-slave and half-free. One hundred years later
John F. Kennedy asked how the world could be half-free
while the other half lived in slavery to a totalitarian
our nation has taken up the cross yet again to defend
freedom, this time against the global threat of terrorism.
The embodiment of global terrorism has been focused
on the Al Qaeda network since the crumbling towers
of the World Trade Centers flashed before our eyes
on the morning of September 11th.
in our midst, there are other terrorists inextricably
linked to Al Qaeda, because they too destroy towers
filled with people. The only difference is that the
terrorist organizations I am referring to destroy
towers one human being at a time and in far greater
numbers than Al Qaeda. Osama Bin-Laden does not lead
these organizations; they are led or organized by
like-minded terrorists with names like L. Ron Hubbard,
David Miscavige, Sun Myung Moon, Kip McKean, or David
collective fight against the fear and terror spread
by these cults is the cross that many of us in this
room tonight have freely chosen to bear. These cults
adamantly refuse to accept the basic principles underlying
the Constitution. Their outright attacks on our most
fundamental liberties threaten to do permanent damage
to the Bill of Rights, which is the bedrock of America's
tradition of fairness, equality, decency and ultimately
are all in danger as a result of the successes these
terrorist cults have had in cloaking themselves in
the mantle of religious freedom as a means of distracting
government attention from their criminal behavior,
their human and civil rights abuses, their manipulation
of the legal process and their outright disregard
for humanity. Yet, these enemies of freedom are the
ones who today howl the loudest for freedom and tolerance.
Such calls for freedom and tolerance by Scientology
and other cults are mere masks for their brands of
slavery and terrorism.
before he was murdered, Leo J. Ryan wrote a letter
to his good friend Ida Camburn, who is here with us
tonight. In it he expressed his hope that a way could
be found to combat these jackals that prey on human
would like to thank the Leo J. Ryan Educational Foundation
for framing our fight for freedom from cults within
the context of global terrorism, because by doing
so Leo Ryan's wish can be more readily understood
in a world reeling from the same brand of terror and
fear perpetrated by cults.
I would like to thank my two children, Katherine and
Sarah Minton for their love and affection, their support
and encouragement and all of our children because
it is for our children that we wish to make this country
and this world free from the terror of cults.
you very much for this award.
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