The Franciscan Peace Center invites you to:
Local Unveiling: The Charter of Compassion
- promoting globally the principles of the Golden Rule
2:00 p.m. Sunday
Lexington Public Library
Conference Room A
140 East Main Street
Click here to view, download, & print the event flyer.
Free & open to the public
There is an urgent need for a new focus on compassion.
The Charter for Compassion (click here to learn more about the Charter) is Karen Armstrong's effort to promote the principles of the Golden Rule across the religious and global spectrum. Bringing together voices from all cultures and religions, the Charter for Compassion seeks to remind the world we already share the core principles of compassion.
An official unveiling of the Charter for Compassion is scheduled for November 12. On Sunday, November 15, you are invited to attend a local unveiling of the Charter for Compassion here in Lexington and discuss issues of compassion in our community and around the world. Come and take part in the conversation.
In the meantime, click here to please watch a video that will introduce you to the Charter for Compassion. Click here to watch and listen to Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB explain why the Charter is necessary.
The Charter for Compassion is the result of Karen Armstrong’s 2008 TED Prize wish and made possible by the generous support of the Fetzer Institute. It will be unveiled to the world on November 12, 2009.
Why a Charter for Compassion?
The Golden Rule requires that we use empathy -- moral imagination -- to put ourselves in others’ shoes. We should act toward them as we would want them to act toward us. We should refuse, under any circumstance, to carry out actions which would cause them harm.
The Charter, crafted by people all over the world and drafted by a multi-faith, multi-national council of thinkers and leaders, is a cry for a return to this central principle which is so often overlooked in our world. It reminds the faithful that in the past leading sages of all the major traditions insisted that the Golden Rule was the essence of religion, that everything else was “commentary,” and that it should be practiced “all day and every day.” They insisted that any interpretation of scripture that led to hatred or disdain was illegitimate and that exegesis must issue in practical charity.
Like the Charter of Human Rights, this Charter for Compassion is a yardstick against which the laity as well as religious and secular leaders can measure their behavior; it can empower congregations to demand a more compassionate teaching from pastors and preachers; it can mobilize youth, who have seen at a formative age what happens when bigotry becomes rife in a society; it can make interfaith understanding a priority; inspire exegetes, scholars, educators and the media to explore the role compassion has played in the traditions, and ensure that it compassion is a focal point in the curricula of schools, colleges and seminaries.
The Charter seeks to change the conversation so that compassion becomes a key word in public and private discourse, making it clear that any ideology that breeds hatred or contempt ~ be it religious or secular ~ has failed the test of our time.
We need everybody to participate ~ atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Jews, Muslims ~ everybody! Our polarized world needs to see compassion practically implicated ~ politically, socially and economically ~ and show that in our divided world, which so often stresses difference, compassion is something on which we can all agree.
About Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong is one of the most provocative, original thinkers on the role of religion in the modern world. Armstrong is a former Roman Catholic nun who left a British convent to pursue a degree in modern literature at Oxford. She has written more than 20 books around the ideas of what Islam, Judaism and Christianity have in common, and around their effect on world events, including the magisterial A History of God and Holy War: The Crusades and Their Impact on Today’s World. Her latest book is The Case for God. Her meditations on personal faith and religion (she calls herself a freelance monotheist) spark discussion — especially her take on fundamentalism, which she sees in a historical context, as an outgrowth of modern culture.
Compassion manifests itself in the world not by thinking but by doing.
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