San Fransisco Chronicles

Solzhenitsyn Wins Religious Prize

March 3, 1983

Alexander Solzhenitsyn was named winner of the Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion yesterday and responded by lamenting that “prayers in school are forbidden even in a free country.”

The exiled Soviet writer, who lives in Vermont, was not present for the announcement by Senator Oerin G. Harach, R. Utah one of the eight members of an international panel that selected Solzhenitsyn.

In a message to John Templeton, the multimillionaire philanthropist and financier who established the prize in 1972, Solzhenitsyn said, “You have the courage to support a trend which is most unpopular in our days when prayers in school are forbidden even in a free country, it is not much more tolerable than in Communist countries, only that it leads the hammering in of atheism.

Templeton said Solzhenitsyn would deliver “an important address” as a ceremony in London May 10 at which the prize worth more than $170,000 will be presented.

The citation accompanying the award says, “Alexander Solzhenitsyn is a pioneer in the renaissance of religion in atheist nations…His achievements have been made possible by a profound Christian faith.”
Associated Press