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D. Pimzi: Christian Perspectives on Human Rights


Address to Interreligious Youth Model United Nations
Geneva, Switzerland

I’m Dorcas Pimzi, from Togo. I completed my studies in theology, and I’m now attending a training course for pastoral and interreligious activities. As a Christian, I participate in Evangelical church meetings.

In the Christian churches, when the theme of peace in the world is addressed, the tendency is to deal only with the question of how to apply the work of Christ to the people’s present lives. Although the Bible shows that God’s work extends to the whole of humanity, peace tends to be limited to a few privileged countries on a few continents.

What can we do to contribute to world peace? I propose four points:

1. It’s necessary to find anew the goodness of the original creation.
At the beginning, the creation perfectly corresponded to God’s purpose for it. We must clearly maintain this goal in our hearts and continue to work to accomplish it.

2. Relationships must be harmonized anew.
The creation reflected the perfect harmony between all living beings. As long as this harmony is missing, human beings won’t be satisfied. Therefore, we need to work at harmonizing human relationships on all levels, from the individual, to society, ethnic groups and, finally, nations and the world.

3. We must practice forgiveness.
All people need to create bridges among themselves by learning to appreciate and understand one another through better communication. Resentment, which is the opposite of forgiveness, is also the destruction of love. What the church asks of nations is to practice forgiveness and overcome all bad feelings, and past and present hatreds and establish linkages between all human beings. A Spanish proverb says: “The shortest way between two hearts goes through the stars.” I understand this proverb to mean that the stars illuminate the hearts.

4. We must reinforce what the UN is doing.
The UN must not only take care of the physical but also the spiritual needs of humanity. When people need help, the religious leaders of that people must inform the UN about their cultural and spiritual aspects so that such assistance can be fully effective and so it doesn’t end up being counterproductive. These leaders must also be consulted when applying practical measures on the spot so that the local population understands the measures and cooperates. Moreover, the UN should be receptive to the initiatives and ideas the religious leaders propose. The UN cannot exclude the religious aspects of its mandate.

I’d like to talk about the contribution of Christianity to the well-being of governments. God associates mankind to his creation work and gives him the potential to make history. As God’s image, man has the capability to make God’s image visible on earth. In order for nations to receive God’s blessing, every nation needs to have God’s word in its heart and worship him while consolidating their relationship with God and other people. Nations will have peace in their union with God. I think that religious leaders need to invest themselves in public and political matters so that their ideals can be practiced in society.

Let’s use the example of marriage.

For Jesus (Mark 10:1-12), love unites man and woman; it comes from God. Nations need to love one another. The Bible declares in the Song of Solomon 8:6-7 that “love is as strong as death.”

To understand how nations can cooperate for world peace, let’s examine an old Persian legend that talks about Majnun, a young Bedouin. It resembles St. Francis of Assisi’s story.

A loving father marries his son. The young couple escapes in the desert where they live naked and lonely in the midst of wild animals, without hope or fear. Madly and laughingly, Majnun sings his love poems to the wind. He is criticized for having left society.

To an Arabic king who wants to see him and discover the secret of his love, he answers, “If those who blame me could only see Leila’s beauty!”

When the king visits them, he is very disappointed to see a black haired, skinny and suntanned woman whose beauty is far less than that of any of the slaves of his harem.

But Majnun who guesses the king’s thoughts says to him, “You are blind to Leila’s beauty. What can you do? Look at her with Majnun’s eyes!”

That’s the secret of love, the invisible reality that goes beyond human reason. If we all try to practice true love, without caring about appearance or prejudice, we’ll be able to feel free to be united with one another thanks to that common love.

I think that the church can influence the daily reality of our world and promote world peace if it really practices Christ’s teachings and cooperates with the UN.