The following is a selection of quotes that have given inspiration to CLEAR in it’s work. We hope they will provide a source of reflection and inspiration for you as you consider how you may be involved.
“The Lord will bring about justice and praise on every nation on earth, like flowers blooming in a garden” Isaiah 61:11 (CEV)
“The error of those who reason by precedents drawn from antiquity, respecting the rights of an, is that they do not go far enough into antiquity. They do not go the whole way. They stop in some of the intermediate stages of a hundred or a thousand years … But if we proceed on, we shall at last come out right; we shall come to the time when man came from the hand of his Maker. What was he then? Man. Man was his high and only title, and a higher cannot be given him.”
– Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man (1791), 8th ed., pp. 47-48.
“Human rights language is a moral language in that it is an attempt to describe the right and the good. But it is also a political language. Appealing to human rights does not end a debate. More often than not it starts a debate. Human rights do not represent a moral trump card. There is a need for some moral framework beyond human rights from which they can derive their authority and which provides their foundation. Without that framework they exist in a moral vacuum and are in danger of becoming self-referential.”
– John Stott, Roy McCloughry (ed), Issues Facing Christians Today (Zondervan, 4th ed, 2006) 197.
“This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.” (Zechariah 7:9 NIV)
“But if God is real, and all men are his sons, that is the true worth of every one of them. My worth is what I am worth to God; and that is a marvellous great deal, for Christ died for me. Thus, incidentally, what gives to each of us his highest worth gives the same worth to everyone; in all that matters most we are all equal.”
– William Temple, Citizen and Churchman (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1941) 74, 75.
“When the electrodes are turned on, the torture victim suffers equally when the “security” think they are saving free enterprise from the revolution or the revolution from reaction … my own commitment is neither to liberalism nor to Marxism, but to a curious idea put about by a carpenter turned dissident preacher in Palestine that the test of our humanity is to be found in how we treat our enemies … A society’s maturity and humanity will be measured by the degree of dignity it affords to the disaffected and the powerless.”
– Paul Oestreicher, Thirty Years of Human Rights (The British Churches’ Advisory Forum on Human Rights, 1980).
“If I have denied justice to my menservants and maidservants
when they had a grievance against me,
what will I do when God confronts me?
What will I answer when called to account?
Did not he who made me in the womb make them?
Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?”
– Job 31:13 – 15. Holy Bible: New International Version. NIV.
“Here, then, is a Christian perspective on human rights. Firstly, we affirm human dignity. Because human beings are created in God’s image to know him, serve one another and be stewards of the earth; therefore, they must be respected. Secondly, we affirm human equality. Because human beings have all been made in the same image by the same Creator; therefore, we must not be obsequious to some and scornful to others, but behave without partiality to all. Thirdly, we affirm human responsibility. Because God has laid it upon us to love and serve our neighbours; therefore, we must fight for their rights, while being ready to renounce our own in order to do so. Two main conclusions follow. Firstly, we have to accept that other people’s rights are our responsibility. We are our brother’s keeper, because God has put us in the same human family and so made us related to and responsible for one another … Secondly, we have to take more seriously Christ’s intention that the Christian community should set an example to other communities.”
– John Stott, Roy McCloughry (ed), Issues Facing Christians Today (Zondervan, 4th ed, 2006) 206-207.
“So justice is driven back,
and righteousness stands at a distance;
Truth has stumbled in the streets, honesty cannot enter.
Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.
The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice.
He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
So his own arm achieved salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.
He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.
“The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 59:14-17, 20 NIV)
“His entire life, death, and resurrection unveil for all people in all times a true portrait of God’s justice. Justice empowers the wronged by making wrongs right. Jesus’ teaching and ministry show us what justice looks like in every dimension of human life-individual, social, and cosmic.”
– Peter Goodwin Heltzel, ‘The Holy Spirit of Justice’ in Brian McLaren, Elisa Padilla and Ashley Bunting Seeber (eds), The Justice Project (Baker Books, 2009) 44.
“Living as truly human in the imago Christi is only possible through the Holy Spirit of justice being resident in the life of Christ’s followers. When emerging communities live fully in the Spirit, we will witness God restoring the shalom of the world through a radical out-breaking of new creation into the brokenness of the old-liturgies of healing, acts of justice, arts of transformation, miracles of reconciliation, and multifarious forms of life out of death. The Holy Spirit of justice is moving us forward toward the new creation when Christ’s peaceable and just reign will be fully present to the whole creation.”
– Peter Goodwin Heltzel, ‘The Holy Spirit of Justice’ in Brian McLaren (eds) The Justice Project (Baker Books), 50.
“There before our eyes stands a long line of unemployment, the millions of children in hunger and distress throughout the world, the hungry of China, the oppressed in India and in our own unhappy land. And while we all see this need, there is only confused counsel. Yet, despite it all, Christmas comes. Whether we want it or not, whether we ask for it or not, we must listen again to the angels’ song. Christ the Saviour is here. The world he comes to save is our lost world.”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Predigten, Auslegungen. Meditationen (Otto Dudzus trans, Kaiser Verlag, 1985) 55 [first published 1984]
‘The gospel is the news that distorted patterns of power have been broken: the reception of the gospel is the embrace of radically transformed patterns of social relationships.’
– Walter Brueggemann, Biblical perspectives on evangelism: Living in a three-storied universe (Nashville, Abingdon, 1993) 34
‘The cross is a demonstration of his holiness, in his judgement on human sinfulness. The cross is a demonstration of his justice, in that sin is not allowed to go unpunished. The cross is a demonstration of his love, in that God paid the price of sin himself.’
– Dr David McIlroy, Christian Perspectives on Law: A Biblical View of Law and Justice, 2004, Paternoster.
‘The kingdom of God has a ‘now-and-not-yet’ nature to it. The ‘now’ has been manifested in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. We see glimpses of it in the outbreaks of justice and peace throughout certain parts of the world. These glimpses provide rumours of hope. They give us faith to keep on the journey, knowing that our efforts alone are not enough, but that with the Spirit of God empowering us, the fruits of our work will one day be seen in a world where there is justice for all. This is the ‘not-yet’ nature of the kingdom.’
– Bob Mitchell, Sketching a Christian Theology of Change for International Development Organisations, 2012, unpublished.
‘Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind;
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.’
– John Donne, Devotions on Emergent Occasions (1624) Meditation XVII.
‘To punish sin and to forgiveness you are moved,
God, this people I have loved.
That I bore its shame and sacrifices
And saw its salvation – that suffices’
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Death of Moses