Thursday, December 10, 2009

LC/NA Offers Prayer for Human Rights Day

In 1950, the United Nations established December 10 as "International Human Rights Day." Since then, communities all over the world have been encouraged to recognize the ongoing need to work for the social and civil rights of all. This year’s theme is “non-discrimination,” where, as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
One of the recent commitments the ELCA has made to working for dignity and rights is reflected in the recent social statement, Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust, adopted by the 2009 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. This commitment has received far less press than other aspects of the document, and so it bears highlighting here. The ELCA pledges to
attend to the need for equal protection, equal opportunities, and equal responsibilities under the law, and just treatment for those with varied sexual orientation and gender identity. Such individuals are disproportionately and negatively affected by patterns of stigma, discrimination, and abuse. Likewise it will attend to the particular needs of children and the families of those with actual or perceived differences in sexual orientation or gender identity because they are especially vulnerable to verbal, physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, and sexual abuse.
This pledge reflects a church’s broader commitment made in 1991, when the ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted The Church in Society: A Lutheran Perspective. This was the first social statement adopted by the ELCA and provides the foundation for all social statements to follow. In Church in Society, the ELCA confesses that
In witnessing to Jesus Christ, the church announces that the God who justifies expects all people to do justice. God's good and just demands address people in the obligations of their relationships and the challenges of the world. Through the divine activity of the law, God preserves creation, orders society, and promotes justice in a broken world.
To our knowledge, the ELCA doesn’t formally recognize Human Rights Day—but it has indeed done much good work that indicates its commitment to the principles of December 10.

Our hope and prayer for today is that God grant the ELCA, its leaders and all its members, the wisdom and strength to remain watchful for opportunities to engage the powers and principalities of the world that stand in the way of justice, love, and mercy.

1 comment:

  1. Please note that Human Rights Sunday is this Sunday, December 13. Please offer a special prayer for human rights in worship this Sunday.

    Ross Murray


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