the charter of compassion

As a congregation we have signed the Charter of Compassion, a movement started by renowned scholar Karen Armstrong. As you walk into the church you will see a banner of it designed by one of our congregants, Alex Latimer.

“The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, and calls us to always treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Having compassion impels us to work to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures. It means we remove ourselves from the centre of our world and that we honour the sanctity of every person and treat everybody, without exception, with justice, equality and respect.

We need to refrain at all times from inflicting pain on others, whether physically or verbally. In order not to deny our common humanity, we need to honour the basic human rights of others, even those who we regard as enemies. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased human misery in the name of religion.

The Charter therefore calls on everyone:

- To restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion;

- To return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate;

- To ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures;

- To encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity;

- To cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings, even those regarded as enemies.”

We urgently need to make compassion a clear and dynamic force in our polarised world. Compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Because we are dependent on one another, compassion is an essential element for good human relationships. Compassion is the path to enlightenment and important for the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.

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