Message From World Summit of Religious Leaders
"Let Us Preserve Peace Given to Us by the Almighty"
MOSCOW, JULY 8, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is the message the World Summit of Religious Leaders issued on Wednesday in Moscow.
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We, participants in the World Summit of Religious Leaders -- heads and delegates of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, and Shinto religious communities in 49 countries, met in Moscow on the eve of the Group of Eight Summit. Having at length discussed issues of mutual concern, we now appeal to the Heads of States, to our religious communities and to all people of good will.
We believe that the human person is religious by nature. Since the dawn of history, religion has played the key role in the development of thought, culture, ethics and the social order.
With the ever-growing role of faith in contemporary society, we want religion to continue being a solid foundation for peace and dialogue amongst civilizations, and not to be used as a source of division and conflict. Religion has the potential to bind together diverse peoples and cultures despite our human fragility, particularly in today's context of plurality and diversity.
Human life is a gift of the Almighty. Our sacred duty is to preserve it, and this should be the concern of both religious communities and political leaders.
Dialogue and partnership among civilizations should not just be slogans. We need to build a world order which combines democracy -- as the way of harmonizing different interests and as people's participation in national and global decision-making -- and respect to the moral feeling, way of life, various legal and political systems, and national and religious traditions of people.
Comprehensive, just and durable solutions of international disputes should be reached by peaceful means. We reject double standards in international relations. The world should have many poles and many systems, meeting the requirements of all individuals and nations rather than matching lifeless and oversimplified ideological patterns.
The human being is the Creator's unique creation whose existence reaches into eternity. Humans should not become either a commodity or an object of political manipulation or an element of the production and consumption machine.
Conception till natural death
It is, therefore, necessary to assert constantly the highest value of human life from conception to the final breath and natural death. Thus the family needs support today, for it is the privileged context for cultivating the free, intelligent and moral personality. We call for more assistance to the family, particularly in its formative mission by national and international law and the practice of states, various public institutions, religious communities and the mass media.
Linked to this is our concern for the status of women and children in many societies. Promoting the unique character of every person, women and men, children and the elderly, as well as people with disabilities, we see that they all have their special gifts. Protecting them from violence and exploitation is a common task for authorities, society, and religious communities.
The human being is the supreme creation of the Almighty. Therefore human rights -- their protection and respect at the national, regional and international level -- are an important concern for us. Nevertheless, our experience also shows that without an ethical core, without understanding our duties, no society or country is exempt from conflict and collapse.
Freedom and rights
Sin and vice ruin both the individual and the society. For this reason we are convinced that law and social order should seek to bring together in fruitful harmony a commitment to rights and freedom as well as an awareness of the ethical principles that are constitutive of human living together.
We state the importance of religious freedom in today's world. Individuals and groups must be immune from coercion. No one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his or her own beliefs in religious matters. It is also necessary to take into account the rights of religious and ethnic minorities.
We condemn terrorism and extremism of any form, as well as attempts to justify them by religion. We consider it our duty to oppose enmity on political, ethnic or religious grounds. We deplore the activities of pseudo-religious groups and movements destroying freedom and health of people as well as the ethical climate in societies.
Using religion as a means for rousing hatred or an excuse for crimes against individuals, morality and humanity present a major challenge today. This can be effectively addressed only through education and moral formation. School, mass media, and preaching by religious leaders should return to our contemporaries the full knowledge ...
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