IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

Religions for Peace

I am surprised I have not come across this organization before now.  They seem to be highly committed, operate in several regions of the globe and have a very relevant agenda (conflict transformation, Advocacy for Children, Sustainable Development…).   As their “About” page explains:

“Religions for Peace is the largest international coalition of representatives from the world’s great religions dedicated to promoting peace.

Respecting religious differences while celebrating our common humanity, Religions for Peace is active on every continent and in some of the most troubled areas of the world, creating multi-religious partnerships to confront our most dire issues: stopping war, ending poverty, and protecting the earth.

Religious communities are the largest and best-organized civil institutions in the world, claiming the allegiance of billions across race, class, and national divides. These communities have particular cultural understandings, infrastructures, and resources to get help where it is needed most.

Founded in 1970, Religions for Peace enables these communities to unleash their enormous potential for common action. Some of Religions for Peace’s recent successes include building a new climate of reconciliation in Iraq; mediating dialogue among warring factions in Sierra Leone; organizing an international network of religious women’s organizations; and establishing an extraordinary program to assist the millions of children affected by Africa’s AIDS pandemic, the Hope for African Children Initiative.

Religions for Peace brings together hundreds of key religious leaders every five years to discuss the great issues of our time. In August 2006, the Eighth World Assembly convened in Kyoto.”

They also recently sponsored an “International Summit of Religious Youth leaders on Disarmament for Shared Security” in Kathmandu Nepal, which produced “The Kathmandu Declaration on Disarmament for Shared Security“.  This document (which I suggest you read in full), states in part:

“The choice for military expenditure is usually explained as a choice for security. However, we want to communicate to world leaders that a choice to spend resources on weapons is a choice against true shared security. When our governments spend money on weapons development and not education they are taking away the potential for future security. When they spend money on buying new guns instead of clearing mine fields, they contribute to more unnecessary deaths. When they spend money to maintain large military industries instead of clearing national debts the world moves further from stability and security. We must change these out-of-balance priorities and shift the focus of our leaders from military spending on all types of arms to development that brings lasting peace.

The world’s religious communities can be vital voices in advocating for this shift. Each possesses their spiritual traditions, moral heritages and the oldest and largest social networks. As active voices in our individual religious communities, we can mobilize these networks and draw on the shared values of life and human dignity in our traditions to work for disarmament.”

Good stuff!   In this organization, and others with a similar focus, we see the potential of faith communities to focus their spiritual energies on the universal problems of humanity (as some of us think they were intended to do in the first place–but that his another subject 🙂 ).

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August 13, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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