Vice President Biden Receives Athenagoras Human Rights Award [video]

Joe Biden receives human rights award from Greek AmericansU.S. Vice President Joe Biden received this year’s Athenagoras Human Rights Award, the highest bestowed by the Greek Orthodox Church, on Saturday.

The Athenargoras Human Rights Award ceremony is hosted annually by the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Church. The award was presented by Archbishop Demetrios of America.

Biden delivered a message about religious freedom around the world and Greek heritage in the United States. His message was received with great applause, especially at the point where he pounded the podium and said, “Freedom of religion is something we possess simply because we exist.” He further said that religious freedom is key to fighting extremism, such as in the case of the Islamic State.

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[L-R] Archon George D. Behrakis with his wife Margo, grandson George Behrakis and son Drake G. Behrakis, also an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Popular in the Greek American community, Biden is often called Joe Biden-opoulos by the U.S. Diaspora.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that the Greek community has helped shape my political consciousness as well as America and the world,” Biden said.

Biden talked of his father saying, “My dad said, ‘Joey remember one simple thing. Every single person in the world is entitled to be treated with dignity.’ That’s what makes me so proud to be associated with all of you at the Greek Orthodox Church. It’s an extension of everything my father ever taught me.”

The Vice President got emotional when he spoke of his late son. “Put one foot in front of the other, as my son Beau used to say, just keep moving forward,” Biden said. “It is my faith that has kept me moving forward.”