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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Feb. 10, 2003 – From a field of nearly 40 international entries, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty has selected the finalists for the 2002 Lord Acton Essay competition. The program encourages participants to reflect on the integration of religious principles with morality and economic thinking, in support of a free and virtuous society.

  • First Place : M.R.R. Ossewaarde, Ph.D. student in political theory at the London School of Economics. Ossewaarde, of Enschede, The Netherlands, titled his essay, “New Liberalism.” $2,000 award.
  • Second Place : Robert T. Peterson, J.D., of Hammond, Ind., for his essay, “The Workers in the Vineyard.” $1,000 award.
  • Third Place : James M. Berry an undergraduate student in political science at Christendom College. Berry, from Milwaukee, Wis., titled his entry, “Building the Foundations for the Free Society: Finding Common Ground in the Political Theory of Saint Robert Bellarmine and John Locke.” $500 award.
  • Honorable Mention : Scott Erbe, M.A. student at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Mich., for his essay, “From Age to Age the Same: The Providential Ethics of Joseph Butler,” and F.R. Duplantier of St. Louis, Mo., for “Wise Men Bearing Gifts.”

The contest is open to all individuals with an interest in religion, liberty, and their contribution towards a society of free and responsible persons, regardless of religious denomination or affiliation.

About the Acton Institute

With its commitment to pursue a society that is free and virtuous, the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty is a leading voice in the national environmental and social policy debate. The Acton Institute is uniquely positioned to comment on the sound economic and moral foundations necessary to sustain humane environmental and social policies.

The Acton Institute is a nonprofit, ecumenical think tank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Institute works internationally to "promote a free and virtuous society characterized by individual liberty and sustained by religious principles."

Interviews with Institute staff may be arranged by contacting John Couretas at (616) 454-3080 or at