People carry the coffin of a suicide bomb victim in Lahore, Pakistan, March 28. A landmark declaration by the third global conference on the world’s religion, which rejects fanaticism and terrorism, was adopted in Montreal Sept. 14. CNS photo/Rahat Dar, EPA

World religions reject fanaticism, terrorism in religion’s name at Montreal conference

By  Alan Hustak, Catholic Register Special
  • September 16, 2016

MONTREAL – A landmark declaration which rejects fanaticism and terrorism in the name of religion was adopted in Montreal at the third global conference on the world's religions.

Endorsed by five Nobel Peace Prize laureates, the declaration is meant to complement, not replace, the original Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the United Nations in 1948.

The document, signed Sept. 14, acknowledges the role that religion plays around the world and reinforces the reality of spiritual well-being. The drafting committee felt it necessary to come up with the declaration because "the original declaration articulates a Western concept of human rights and ignores the rights of women, minorities and indigenous people."

The preamble to the document states that the peoples of the world must exchange "not only ideas but ideals,” and that "the conception and implementation of human rights are integrally related to the performance of moral and legal duties."

Representatives of many of the world's estimated 2,500 religions attended the day-long conference with the theme "From Faith to Interfaith." Among the keynote speakers were acclaimed author and philosopher Deepak Chopra, Susannah Heschel, a professor of Jewish studies at Dartmouth College, Amir Hussain, a Muslim professor of theological studies at Loyola Marymount University, and university chaplain Manjit Singh.

One panel discussion dealt with the cause and cure of fanaticism.

"We have one religion that is not represented here," declared Harvey Cox, a Harvard University professor of Divinity. "A new world religion of marketing."

In his provocative address, Cox told delegates "We now live in a deified economy. Why are we all so greedy, so self-possessed? We live in a society driven by greed."

Cox said it is a religion with its own temples, its own priests and prophets, its own missionaries and it is surrounding us and choking us from every side.

“Let us not ignore this new religion in our midst," he warned.

"Let us face honestly its threat. There isn't a village in the world that hasn't been touched by market missionaries.”

Cox, who has written a book on the subject, The Market As God, pointed out that there are a billion people in the world facing starvation as a result of the financial equality caused by this new world religion.

"How is it that when a homeless person dies, that is not news. But if the Dow falls four points, that is news?"

For the full text of the declaration of human rights by the world's religions, visit worldsreligions2016.org.

(Hustak is a freelance writer in Montreal.)

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