by Religion News Service
September 1, 2000
Religious leaders sign "Commitment to Global Peace"The statement includes 11 promises to work for global peace, education and the abolition of nuclear weapons, among other things. "We accept that men and women are equal partners in all aspects of life and children are the hope of the future," the statement reads in its introduction. "Our world is plagued by violence, war and destruction, which are sometimes perpetrated in the name of religion."
The statement continues, saying, "Building peace requires an attitude of reverence for life, freedom and justice, the eradication of poverty, and the protection of the environment for present and future generations." Signers will pledge to "appeal to all religious communities and ethnic and national groups to respect the right to freedom of religion, to seek reconciliation, and to engage in mutual forgiveness and healing." In addition, signers will "practice and promote in our communities the values of the inner dimension of peace, including especially study, prayer, meditation, a sense of the sacred, humility, love, compassion, tolerance and a spirit of service ..."
The summit, which opened at the United Nations with an address by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, has drawn fire from critics who said organizers bowed to Chinese pressure to exclude the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the world's 15 million Tibetan Buddhists and a Nobel Peace Prize winner.