THE TANDEM PROJECT
UNITED NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS,
FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF
Separation of Religion or Belief and State (SOROBAS)
POPE CALLS FOR UN REFORM & NEW WORLD
ECONOMIC ORDER FOR THE COMMON GOOD
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Issue: Pope calls for UN reform to be a global political body for world economic good.
For: United Nations, Governments, Religions or Beliefs, Academia, NGOs, Media, Civil Society
Review: Pope Urges Forming
Excerpts: VATICAN CITY – “Pope Benedict XVU on Tuesday called for a radical rethinking of the global economy, criticizing a growing divide between rich and poor and urging the establishment of a ‘true world political authority’ to oversee the economy and work for the common good.”
“Benedict also called for a reform of the United Nations so there could be a unified ‘global political body’ that allowed the less powerful of the earth to have a voice, and he called on rich nations to help less fortunate ones…Michael Novak, a philosopher and theologian at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, a conservative research organization said he thought that the encyclical was stronger on principles than policy suggestions. He said he was particularly uncomfortable with the idea of a strong international institution to regulate the global economy. ‘I like limited government. I would much prefer to have many limited governments than one overriding authority,’ Mr. Novak said by telephone.”
“Reportedly delayed to take into consideration the financial crisis, it was released by the Vatican on the eve of the Group of 8 industrialized nations summit meeting, which opens in Italy on Wednesday, and before Benedict is expected to receive President Obama at the Vatican on Friday.”
The G8 nations are
More than two years in the making, Caritas in Veritate or “Charity in Truth” is Benedict’s third encyclical since he became pope in 2005. It strengthens the United Nations moral authority to support the full intent and meaning of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its two inter-related international covenants; the covenant on civil and political rights and the covenant on economic, social and cultural rights.
The Holy See (
Articles from: the Eight Articles of the 1981 U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.
3. 1 Discrimination between human beings on grounds of religion or belief constitutes an affront to human dignity and a disavowal of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and shall be condemned as a violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and enunciated in detail in the International Covenants on Human Rights, and as an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations between nations.
4. 1 All States shall take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief in the recognition, exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all fields of civil, economic, political, social and cultural life.
4. 2 All States shall make all efforts to enact or rescind legislation where necessary to prohibit any such discrimination, and to take all appropriate measures to combat intolerance on the grounds of religion or other beliefs in this matter.
NY TIMES: POPE URGES FORMING NEW WORLD ECONOMIC ORDER TO WORK FOR THE COMMON GOOD by, Rachel Donadio and Laurie Goodstein, 8 July 2009.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday called for a radical rethinking of the global economy, criticizing a growing divide between rich and poor and urging the establishment of a “true world political authority” to oversee the economy and work for the “common good.”
He criticized the current economic system, “where the pernicious effects of sin are evident,” and urged financiers in particular to “rediscover the genuinely ethical foundation of their activity.”
He also called for “greater social responsibility” on the part of business. “Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty,” Benedict wrote in his new encyclical, which the Vatican released on Tuesday.
More than two years in the making, “Caritas in Veritate,” or “Charity in Truth,” is Benedict’s third encyclical since he became pope in 2005. Filled with terms like “globalization,” “market economy,” “outsourcing,” “labor unions” and “alternative energy,” it is not surprising that the Italian media reported that the Vatican was having difficulty translating the 144-page document into Latin.
Reportedly delayed to take into consideration the financial crisis, it was released by the Vatican on the eve of the Group of 8 industrialized nations summit meeting, which opens in Italy on Wednesday, and before Benedict is expected to receive President Obama at the Vatican on Friday.
“It’s not an encyclical
done for the crisis,” Cardinal Renato Martino, the president of the
In the encyclical, Benedict wrote that “financiers must rediscover the genuinely ethical foundation of their activity, so as not to abuse the sophisticated instruments which can serve to betray the interests of savers.”
In many ways, the document
is a puzzling cross between an anti-globalization tract and a government white
paper, another signal that the
“There are paragraphs that sound like Ayn Rand, next to paragraphs that sound like ‘The Grapes of Wrath.’ That’s quite intentional,” Vincent J. Miller, a theologian at the University of Dayton, a Catholic institution in Ohio, said by telephone.
“He’ll wax poetically about the virtuous capitalist, but then he’ll give you this very clear analysis of the ways in which global capital and the shareholder system cause managers to focus on short-term good at the expense of the community, of workers, of the environment.”
Indeed, sometimes Benedict sounds like an old-school European socialist, lamenting the decline of the social welfare state and praising the “importance” of labor unions to protect workers. Without stable work, he noted, people lose hope and tend not to get married and have children.
But he also wrote, “The so-called outsourcing of production can weaken the company’s sense of responsibility towards the stakeholders — namely the workers, the suppliers, the consumers, the natural environment and broader society — in favor of the shareholders.” And he argued that it was “erroneous to hold that the market economy has an inbuilt need for a quota of poverty and underdevelopment in order to function at its best.”
Benedict also called for a reform of the United Nations so there could be a unified “global political body” that allowed the less powerful of the earth to have a voice, and he called on rich nations to help less fortunate ones.
“In the search for solutions to the current economic crisis, development aid for poor countries must be considered a valid means of creating wealth for all,” he wrote.
John Sniegocki, a professor of Christian ethics at Xavier University in Cincinnati, said one of the most controversial elements of the encyclical, at least for some Americans, would be the call for international institutions to play a role in regulating the economy.
“One of the things he’s saying is that the global economy is escaping the power of individual states to regulate it,” Mr. Sniegocki said. He said the encyclical also contained elements “very critical” of how the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank “have required cuts in social spending in the third world.”
Michael Novak, a philosopher and theologian at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, a conservative research organization, said he thought that the encyclical was stronger on principles than policy suggestions. He said he was particularly uncomfortable with the idea of a strong international institution to regulate the global economy.
“I like limited government. I would much prefer to have many limited governments than one overriding authority,” Mr. Novak said by telephone.
Benedict, arguably the most environmentally conscious pope in history, wrote, “One of the greatest challenges facing the economy is to achieve the most efficient use — not abuse — of natural resources, based on a realization that the notion of ‘efficiency’ is not value-free.”
Rachel Donadio reported from
THE TANDEM PROJECT PROPOSALS
Proposals for constructive, long-term solutions to conflicts based on religion or belief:
(1) Develop a model local-national-international integrated approach to human rights and freedom of religion or belief, appropriate to the cultures of each country, as follow-up to the Universal Periodic Review. 1. (2) Use International Human Rights Standards on Freedom of Religion or Belief as a rule of law for inclusive and genuine dialogue on core values within and among nations, all religions and other beliefs, and for protection against discrimination. (3) Use the standards on freedom of religion or belief in education curricula and places of worship, “teaching children, from the very beginning, that their own religion is one out of many and that it is a personal choice for everyone to adhere to the religion or belief by which he or she feels most inspired, or to adhere to no religion or belief at all.” 2.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, at the Alliance of Civilizations Madrid Forum said; “never in our lifetime has there been a more desperate need for constructive and committed dialogue, among individuals, among communities, among cultures, among and between nations.”
Genuine dialogue on human rights and freedom of religion or belief calls for respectful discourse, discussion of taboos and clarity by persons of diverse beliefs. Inclusive dialogue includes people of theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief. The warning signs are clear, unless there is genuine dialogue ranging from religious fundamentalism to secular dogmatism; conflicts in the future will probably be even more deadly.
In 1968 the UN deferred work on an International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Religious Intolerance because of its complexity and sensitivity. Violence, suffering and discrimination based on religion or belief in many parts of the world is greater than ever. It is time for a UN Working Group to draft what they deferred in 1968, a comprehensive core international human rights treaty-a United Nations Convention on Freedom of Religion or Belief. United Nations History – Freedom of Religion or Belief
The challenge to religions or beliefs at all levels is awareness, understanding and acceptance of international human rights standards on freedom of religion or belief. Leaders, teachers and followers of all religions or beliefs, with governments, are keys to test the viability of inclusive and genuine dialogue in response to the UN Secretary General’s urgent call for constructive and committed dialogue.
The Tandem Project title, Separation of Religion or Belief and State (SOROBAS), reflects the far-reaching scope of UN General Comment 22 on Article 18, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Human Rights Committee (CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.4). The General Comment on Article 18 is a guide to international human rights law for peaceful cooperation, respectful competition and resolution of conflicts:
Surely one of the best hopes for humankind is to embrace a culture in which religions and other beliefs accept one another, in which wars and violence are not tolerated in the name of an exclusive right to truth, in which children are raised to solve conflicts with mediation, compassion and understanding.
We welcome ideas on how this can be accomplished; email@example.com.
The Tandem Project is a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1986 to build understanding, tolerance and respect for diversity, and to prevent discrimination in matters relating to freedom of religion or belief. The Tandem Project has sponsored multiple conferences, curricula, reference materials and programs on Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion - and 1981 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.
The Tandem Project: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tandem Project is a UN NGO in Special Consultative Status with the
Economic and Social Council of the United Nations