Points for Use in
at the Time of the 50th Anniversary of the UDHR
The following "talking points" are meant to be a help to preachers, teachers, religious leaders, prayer leaders, and any one else who may want to talk to their religious faith community about the values of human rights and religion on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Religions have made a rich contribution over the history of humankind to the fostering and protection of human dignity and human rights. But we also live in a world with much inter-religious and inter-ethnic conflict, often violent and characterized by heinous violations of human rights and human dignity perpetrated in the name of religions. On the occasion of this anniversary, it may be quite valuable to emphasize the inter-religious dimensions to the human rights movement. Feel free to use these talking points and to develop them and adapt them in any way you see fit. It is understood that each religious and faith tradition takes its own approach to these issues--a richness in itself. If any wording in these talking points shows a misunderstanding of a tradition and its beliefs, it is regretted in advance. They were drafted with the help of representatives of many of the world's largest religions but it was always understood that not every religion's language would be perfectly covered in the wording chosen. It is hoped that you will make the necessary adaptations for your own purposes.
1. Human rights are given by the Author of all life and being, not by human institutions. Therefore they are at the core of religion.
2. Religions have found and continue to find common ground in work together with other religions and with all people of good will to bring about a more just and peaceful world where the dignity of all is protected.
3. Religions recognize and foster human dignity and the inter-relationship of all life on earth. The good of all humankind as it is expressed in religions, however it is understood, includes human dignity in a life of harmony with all other beings.
4. The religious/spiritual nature of human beings made manifest in religions leads to an underlying religious/spiritual unity of all humanity calling forth the traditional concern of religions for tolerance of differences (including religious differences), peace-making, reconciliation.
5. The redressing of inequity, injustice, and the suffering of the poor has always been a profound concern of religions out of respect for the inviolable dignity of all human beings.
6. Religions have a transformative power (socially and personally) that they can use to further the recognition of human dignity.
7. Religions have always seen a need to break down prejudices and stereotypes (racist, classist, etc.) that act as obstacles to regarding one another as fully realized human beings with full human dignity.
8. Religions provide a positive vision of peace which will help lead to the full realization of the human rights of all. That vision of peace includes the right of religions to respect for the integrity of their beliefs and to the strength with which they are held.
9. Religions provide motivation for people to become involved in movements for human rights and social justice.
10. Religions lay a foundation for the recognition that violence to the earth and, indeed, to the universe is a fundamental violation of the human rights of all and an invasion of the harmony of all beings.
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