Human Rights: Make Prayer, Not War

The Christian Science Monitor, September 21, 2009 | Go to article overview

Human Rights: Make Prayer, Not War


Ethnic tension in a Chinese toy factory leads to violence that ends up with at least a thousand people injured and 192 killed - and the underlying issues still unresolved. A Chechen human rights activist, Natalya Estemirova, is kidnapped on her way to work and later found dead. While the war in Iraq may be winding down, the conflict in Pakistan and Afghanistan is heating up. Meanwhile, Iranians continue to struggle against a domineering ruling hierarchy. These may seem like separate examples of instability at a time when many are still distracted by the global economic crisis and its effects. Underneath, however, there's a burgeoning desire for human rights - the right to equality, respect, honest elections, safety from terrorism, and freedom from fear. And these aren't the only parts of the world yearning for freedom. To achieve these rights doesn't have to require violence, although some might feel that is the only solution. What it really requires is prayer.

This newspaper's founder, Mary Baker Eddy, grew up in a free country, but she knew well the enslaving effects of sickness, of being misunderstood and hated as a woman who spoke in public, who challenged the then male bastions of science, theology, and medicine. Her writings ring with conviction when she speaks of human rights, especially in relation to healing. And they also apply to the kind of violence reported in the press. To follow her guidance is to achieve genuine and lasting freedom.

In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" she wrote: "God has built a higher platform of human rights, and He has built it on diviner claims. These claims are not made through code or creed, but in demonstration of 'on earth peace, good-will toward men' " (p. 226). And this is a demonstration each praying individual can support for the nations - individually and collectively.

China is beset by various forms of ethnic tension, from issues in Tibet to the current troubles between the Han and the Uighurs in Xinjian Province. And the citizens of numerous other countries wrestle with similar issues. Yet, spiritually, all are perfect in the eyes of God. As St. Paul put it in his letter to the Galatians, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus" (3:28). Our discernment of the perfection and spirituality of man - male and female, free of mortal ethnicity but with a distinctly individual identity - will break down such ethnic barriers. …

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