Collins Receives Torchbearer Award for Religious Freedom

GAINESVILLE -- Georgia Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.) has received the Torchbearer Award from the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty for his commitment to fighting for the religious freedom of the nation’s servicemembers.

Collins, in addition to his duties as Congressman and profession as an attorney, is also a pastor and a Lt. Col. in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He is the only military chaplain serving in the U.S. Congress.

In a ceremony Monday at Scott’s Downtown in Gainesville, the Chaplain Alliance, which represents over 2,600 armed forces chaplains, presented the award to Collins who was joined by his wife, Lisa. The award is given to those who have defended and maintained religious liberty, and freedom of expression and conscience that the Constitution guarantees chaplains and those whom they serve, according to the organization’s website.

"It’s an incredible honor to be presented with the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty’s Torchbearer Award. As a pastor and an Air Force chaplain, I’ll always fight to protect each and every Americans’ right to freely exercise their religion,” Collins said.

Citing Collins’ previous work on religious freedom in the military, President of Chaplain Alliance and Retired Navy Chaplain Capt. Craig Mueller said, "Representative Collins has been a stalwart defender of religious liberty, often working behind the scenes, to ensure military members may worship God freely.”

Col. Ron Crews, Executive Director of Chaplain Alliance, said the presentation of the award had a special significance for him.

“Representative Collins happens to be my personal Representative, so it is a great pleasure to present this award to him here in his hometown.  Representative Collins has never refused a call for help when religious liberty has been threatened,” Crews said.