Remembering Josetta’s vision as Charter for Compassion debuts

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on November 12, 2009

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compassion_vWhile she wasn’t physically present, the spirit of Josetta Walsh, who co-founded The Child and Family  Research and Training Institute, permeated today’s celebration and local debut of the Charter for Compassion in the  chapel at Holy Trinity, while  similar events were being held around the world.

One of Josetta’s enduring legacies is the World Peace Village based on the Golden Rule found in each faith tradition. Best selling author Karen Armstrong has taken the concept global as part of her wish bestowed for winning the 2008 TED Prize. Over the past year, she has been working to create, launch and propagate a Charter for Compassion – a document that would bring attention back to the principles of universal justice and respect that are central to all the world’s great religions.

During the Charter-writing period, people of all faiths  from across the globe contributed their ideas, suggestions and stories.  A Council of Conscience, made up of eighteen renowned religious thinkers and leaders, then wrote the final version. It was unveiled  today by Armstrong at the National Press Club in Washington, DC  and celebrated in Menlo Park at CFI where it was read aloud at noon.

Explains Armstrong, “Compassion is not the feeling of good will or pity. Instead it is the principled determination to put ourselves into the place of the other [that] lies at the heart of all truly religious and ethical systems.”

The Charter for Compassion calls upon all men and women to:

  • Restore compassion to the center of morality and religion
  • Return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate
  • Ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures
  • Encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity
  • Cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human being, even those regarded as enemies

The Charter can be signed online.

Photos by Chris Gulker

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