Karen Armstrong, Founder of the global movement, The Charter for Compassion
The Toukley Uniting Church is a contributing part of the community as a whole; we partner with and draw volunteers from people of all backgrounds and beliefs. Our community programs have grown over many years, and continue to grow. Our web site is a snap shot of today; there is much more to do and we must continue to grow our programs; we must continue to be uncomfortable.
The following is taken directly from The Charter of Compassion
The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.
It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and emphatically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.
We therefore call upon all men and women to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.
We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.
Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.
Loving God and loving your neighbour are two sides of the same mountain. You cannot love God unless you also love your neighbour.
But we hope that you will also commit to supporting the work of the Charter for Compassion International by contributing according to your ability: become a member of the Charter for Compassion, work as a volunteer, initiate or join a compassionate community initiative, and/or financially support the work of the Charter.