Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then you light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame; you will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins, and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
– Isaiah 58:6-10
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.
– John 15:12-17
The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights
Across the world, in the face of sometimes profound injustice, human beings have come together to describe and detail the most basic of human rights, and their consensus that we are all subject to these fundamental ideals.
We often associate violations of human rights with people in distant places. Although in the United States in 2012 we enjoy a broad array of privileges, human rights violations occur in our country every day. While those of us who enjoy majority status and privilege may sometimes wish to distance ourselves from suffering, we know in our hearts that we cannot. Increasingly in recent years, we have watched the erosion of civil liberties and human rights, even of the privileged.
Each one of us is called to take our rightful place as mothers, fathers, relatives in the human family. We are all children of God. May we guard one another as sisters and brothers in Christ. May peace and justice live in our hearts.
March 14, 2013: Police violence in Cleveland, Ohio cries out for further investigation. Read this Witness for Justice column, 137 Shots.
April, 2012: American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Violates Human Rights
Children and Armed Conflict
Independence of the Judiciary
Women and Violence
United Church of Christ General Synod 25, Resolution for the Common Good