Archives for posts with tag: human rights

We live in world where where the most powerful nation on earth elected a man who succeeded and rose to the top at the expense of others…who deplores and despises the very people  Christians are called upon to give special place and favor.

To show just how anti-Christian Donald Trump is, Michael Stark juxtaposes Jesus’ beatitudes and real quotes from Donald Trump.

Jesus said, Blessed are the meek…                                                                                                              

Trump said “My life has been about winning.  When people wrong you, go after those people, because it is a good feeling. I always get even. My life has not been about losing.”

Jesus said, Blessed are those who are persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.              

Trump said,  “I’m putting the people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, that if I win..they’re going back.” And he made good on his promise by signing an executive order banning all refugees from that war ravaged land.

But the focus of Jesus’ ministry is not not the King Herods of this world…

God chooses to be on the side of the weak, the forgotten, the despised, and the justice seekers pleading their case–like the “Lawyer flash mobs” at airports trying to get the unknown number of visa and green-card holders being unlawfully detained at airports released.

 

I like to imagine that if Jesus were to update his Sermon on the Mount with  Some Modern Beatitudes, he would say…

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 

….blessed are the volunteer lawyers who are working pro-bono preparing habeas corpus petitions for detainees at American airports and the thousands of men and women who inspired by their  better angels got in their cars  or hopped on a train and rallied and stood outside and shouted “Let them in!” Blessed are the journalists who search for the truth and write it and help the public separate fact from fiction. Blessed are the artists and poets and actors throughout the world who are arrested and jailed for speaking truth to power.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. You are of heaven and Jesus blesses you.

You can follow the volunteer airport lawyers on twitter by subscribing to this list . You can search for the hashtag #helpthelawyers .

Also, you can read a lovely first person account, “My Day Volunteering with @OrdLawyersHQ” 

And then there are the refugee detainees right here in our own city…

Blessed are the forgotten ones hungering and thirsting for justice…the asylum seekers held in detention in the basement of the Vancouver Airport–where neither visitors or lawyers are permitted entry…which immigration lawyer Phil Rankin called “the most isolated place in Canada.”

 

 

Indifference to evil is the enemy of good, for indifference is the enemy of everything that exalts the honor of the human person. ~ Elie Wiesel

I sat in mute disbelief as the first live tweets of the verdicts from the Egyptian courtroom appeared in my feed. Three journalists – Australian Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian Baher Mohamed were sentenced to seven years  on trumped up charges of “falsifying news” and belonging to or assisting the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt. (Baher Mohammed received three more years  for apparently possessing a bullet shell). The convictions are seen as groundless and have been universally condemned  as an attack on freedom of expression.

In his post, “A Journalist’s Prayer” written on the first anniversary of 9/11 Gregory Favre reminds journalists of their purpose:

Let us remember to do our best to bring light where there is darkness, truth where there is falsity, joy where there is sadness.

As I read this prayer today, I thought that since it is journalists themselves who are now under attack and are being unjustly persecuted and prevented from doing their work, the charge given in the prayer is now meant for us to take up. It is now our turn to remember and not forget the grave miscarriage of justice that has been committed and to bring light and truth where there is falsity.

We in Canada, take our freedoms for granted, but human rights do not fall from heaven fully formed but are recognized only as individuals and societies advocate, struggle, and fight to have them accepted and respected. The following cartoon from the 19th century illustrates that freedom of expression has a long history of suppression by those in positions of power who fear their lies from being exposed by the light of truth.

PD – 1923
Caricature “the naughty children”, 1849. The inscriptions read: “Freedom of the press”, “freedom of petition”, “freedom of assembly”, “freedom of speech” and “freedom of association”.

My friends, let us not be indifferent to the plight of Peter Greste, Mohammed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed. It is all too easy to ignore it and dismiss it as “Egypt’s problem”. But we all belong to one human family. If we do not work to uphold human dignity and defend the human rights of others we have no basis to claim them for ourselves. Let us bring a measure of joy into their present sadness by helping to preserve the freedoms necessary for journalists to do the important work of bringing more truth into the world.
We can do this by supporting organizations like Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Committee to Protect Journalists. 

Do you know of other organizations in your region who are working to defend freedom of expression as a basic human right? Please share them in the comments section below and I will add them to the list.

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