For All Peoples and All Nations: The Ecumenical Church and Human Rights

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This is the remarkable story of the early human rights movement, and of the influence of Christianity and the Christian churches on envisioning a post-WWII framework for international justice that ultimately resulted in the passing of the 1948 U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. In sum:
When Hitler and Stalin were on the prowl, several ecumenical church leaders in the U.S. and Europe saw that not only must they be stopped by the use of military force, but that a non-territorial and non-coercive interpretation of Christian concern for justice and the welfare of the neighbor could help shape a new global order after the war. These church leaders, led by Frederick Nolde and Searle Bates, translated the deep insights of the Christian tradition into terms that could be endorsed on inter-faith, cross-cultural, and international bases. These leaders supplied the intellectual firepower and the zeal for the cause that tirelessly prodded the heads of states and leaders of diplomatic corps to think about the formation of institutions that could most likely prevent the barbarism of Fascism and Communism from terrorizing the post-war future. Supported by the World Council of Churches, they drafted the basic designs behind the most important institutions of today's system of international law--including the 1948 U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. The rest, as they say, is history.
Social action inspired by Christian convictions has a mixed record in the modern world. Here is a case in which progressive stalwarts in the church, by articulating enduring theological principles that recognize the human dignity of each and every human being, got it right.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"For All Peoples and All Nations succeeds admirably in its main objective to fill a gap in the historical record about the important role of the ecumenical movement in advancing the UN, shaping its Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and authoring its protection of religious liberty. Given the current dominance of conservative religious influence within American politics, in interpreting international affairs, and in perceptions of the United Nations, Nurser reminds us of a time when progressive Christianity's leadership made a global impact and helped give the United Nations its 'soul' in human rights." — Peace & Change: A Journal of Peace Research

"John Nurser has put us in an incalculable debt with this book, which is a straightforward but detailed history of how in the post-1945 world human rights actually came to be enshrined both in the structure of the United Nations and in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights." — Gospel and Our Culture Newsletter

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589010598
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press
  • Publication date: 1/5/2005
  • Series: Advancing Human Rights Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

John S. Nurser is a fellow of the Human Rights Center at the University of Essex and Canon Emeritus of Lincoln Cathedral in the Church of England. He was the founding director of the ecumenical group Christianity and the Future of Europe (CAFE).

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Table of Contents

Foreword David Little

PrefaceAcknowledgmentsArchives and Abbreviations

Introduction: Revisiting a Myth


1. The Idea: To Universalize "Christendom"

2. The Man: Fred Nolde


3. To Write a Just and Durable Peace

4. Mobilizing Christian Forces

5. The Joint Committee on Religious Liberty

6. Preparing for San Francisco

7. The Charter of the United Nations Organization

8. An Ecumenical Instrument

9. Finding a Text

10. Declaring Human Rights

11. Conclusion: Faith and Human Rights Need Each Other


A Extracts from the Report of the WCC-in-Formation Conference "The Churches and the International Crisis"

B Extracts from A Message from the National Study Conference on the Churches and a Just and Durable Peace

C Extract from the Minutes of the First Full Meeting of the Joint Committee on Religious Liberty

D The "Six Pillars of Peace"

E Statement on Religious Liberty

F Statement on Religious Liberty, Memorandum No. 2

G Extracts from the Report of Commission II, "The Peace Strategy of the Churches"

H Letter on Human Rights in the Charter of the United Nations

I Extracts from Concluding Remarks of J.H. Oldham and John Foster Dulles at the Final Session of the Girton College Conference

J Letter from O. Frederick Nolde to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt

K Extract from the Report of the Drafting Committee to the Commission on Human Rights

L Extracts from the Declaration on Religious Liberty

M Extracts from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights


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