Spirit Matters: A Series Exploring Identity, Religion, and Human Rights

"The Humanity of Soldiers: Spiritual Injury and the Right of Moral Conscience in War"
Rita Nakashima Brock, Ph.D.

Chapel co-founder Dominique de Menil built her life according to the belief that spiritual forces are of consequence in real world affairs.  She insisted that a capacity for reverence was essential to successfully advancing justice.  And yet, contemporary religious forces often seem to be at odds with human rights concerns. Though the passion for human rights involves a deep commitment to equality of all people and their right to flourish, the underlying legal framework of human rights discourse, with its foundation in enlightenment philosophy, often ignores humankind’s spiritual aspirations and constitution.   Human rights are, in this sense, built upon a discourse of “universality.”  Religion, especially as it intersects with nationalism and culture, is often (though clearly not always) a domain of particularity that highlights difference– the saved and unsaved, believers and unbelievers, us and them.  Speakers in this series will explore the tension between a universal discourse on human rights and the particular claims religion makes on its adherents: in what ways does religion further the promotion of human rights?  In what ways does religion inhibit the promotion of human rights? And how can the conversation transcend a legal framework and remain open to the deepest longings of the human spirit?

Well-known scholars and intellectuals conversant in the world’s philosophical and religious traditions will deliver a series of lectures.  They will represent various faith perspectives in the promotion of human rights and will address a range of human rights concerns.

Rita Nakashima Brock is a founding Co-Director of Faith Voices for the Common Good and a Visiting Scholar at the Starr King School for the Ministry, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California.  She is the author of numerous books on Christian theology, most recently Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of This World for Crucifixion and Empire, with Rebecca Parker. Brock is currently working with the Truth Commission on Conscience in War, which is exploring the impact of moral injury on soldiers and advocating for the adoption of selective conscientious objection in times of war.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
7:00 PM

Engage with various faith perspectives in the promotion of human rights.