Everyone knows you can’t take it with you. But you can use it to make the world a better place—both while you’re in it and after you die. That’s a key message from Kevin J. “Seamus” Hasson, the winner of this year’s Salvatori Prize, presented by The Heritage Foundation.

Hasson founded the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which fights to protect the religious rights of all Americans. “What too few people recognize is that while you can’t take it with you, you can send your profits on ahead—if you invest wisely with your time and your talents and your resources,” Hasson said in his April acceptance speech. “This is just another way of saying what the Gospel makes clear—that those who seek their lives lose them and those who lose their lives save them.”

Hasson warned that defending the freedom of religion is an uphill battle in this country. But he encouraged Americans to rally to the challenge. It’s “both a great cause and a real hoot. I couldn’t recommend anything more highly than spending your life in a great cause,” he said.

The Becket Fund goes out of its way to defend members of religious minorities, not simply Christians. Hasson said there are three reasons.

  1. “A good reason for defending people that we disagree with is that it is smart. It is easier to set precedents with politically correct plaintiffs—plaintiffs that pose no obvious threat to the sensibilities of the court.”
  2. “A better reason is that if everybody in America doesn’t have religious liberty, then nobody in America has religious liberty. We have to stick together with people with whom we disagree.”
  3. “And then there’s the best reason, and that is: The nature of this fight is unlike any other fight in the history of the Western tradition. The fight is now between people who believe in something and people who believe in precisely nothing. They are nihilists, and this is a threat that is simply unprecedented.”

Hasson has already, as he puts it, sent “profits on ahead.” He encourages everyone else to do so as well.