The Unitarian Universalist Association is one among a diverse group of interfaith religious organizations that have partnered with the “Charter for Compassion” community. This collaborative effort seeks to be a witness to the centrality of compassion in all of the world’s religions – and to help build a more “peaceful and harmonious global community” through that witness.
One of the key leaders of this effort is Karen Armstrong – a theologian that many UU’s have come to appreciate for her interfaith undersanding. She has written books that appear on many UU bookshelves including “The History of God” and “Jerusalem: One City, Three Faiths”. However, the “Council of Sages” for the Charter for Compassion (see pictures, right) also includes Sheikh Ali Gomaa (the Grand Mufti of Egypt), Rabbi David Saperstein (Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism), Sadhvi Chaitanya (spiritual leader of the Arsh Vijnaya Mandiram ashram), and Archbishop Desmond Tutu (retired Archbishop of Cape Town, SA).
The Charter for Compassion website explains that:
The Charter does NOT assume:
- all religions are the same
- compassion is the only thing that matters in religion
- religious people have a monopoly on compassion
The Charter DOES affirm that:
- compassion is celebrated in all major religious, spiritual and ethical traditions
- the Golden Rule is our prime duty and cannot be limited to our own political, religious or ethnic group
- therefore, in our divided world, compassion can build common ground
In November 2009 the finalized version of the Charter for Compassion will be “Launched” in a major event. Religious people from around the world are invited to join in this launch by sponsoring special events. The UUA has created a resource for congregational religious education programs that would like to participate in this global event. Please contact the UUA International Resources Office if you’d like more information.