The Common Good

Seeing Christ in Human Rights

Today, Dec. 10, is Human Rights Day, an annual observance commemorating the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The Declaration, together with two major covenants based on it, has become know the world over as the International Bill of Rights.

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"Seeing Christ in Human Rights" is a Christ-centered discussion of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration sponsored by The Anglican Examiner. Christians from around the world, both learned and grass roots, are encouraged to offer their insights and perspectives on a document that mentions neither God nor Jesus Christ, but has attracted the allegiance of the world's Christians for three generations.

During Advent, the discussion will focus on Article 1. Subsequent articles will be addressed in the ensuing months, the goal being a "Wiki" theology of human rights. Visitors may submit their comments and also sign up to be notified when subsequent article discussions begin.

Here's what one student at Princeton Theological Seminary had to say about Article 1:

Jesus Christ is the model par excellence of a new, liberated humanity (Ruether 1993: 137), the radical incarnation of the egalitarian vision and "spirit of brother- and sisterhood" that this Universal Declaration of Human Rights attempts to elucidate. Like the Eucharist which bears the memory of his sacrifice and the Last Supper which encompassed the fateful offering of the cup and bread, Jesus Christ is the representation of a community of equals wherein the value hierarchy of the world via table-fellowship practices is subverted through voluntary acts of self-kenosis.

Participants in "Seeing Christ in Human Rights" may also want to read "Eleanor Roosevelt's Nightly Prayer," an article which places her work for human rights in the context of her Christian faith.

Donn Mitchell is editor & publisher of The Anglican Examiner. He is writing a book titled The Gracious Society: Frances Perkins and the Religious Dimension of the New Deal.

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