Statement by Religions for Peace on Coronavirus Crisis
Religions for Peace wishes to draw attention, of faith leaders, communities and beyond, to several observations and lessons learned from the current coronavirus crisis.
Humanity could not have received a stronger reminder of the depth of its interrelatedness and unity of purpose. This most tiny virus, COVID-19, carries an existential test, combined with a huge opportunity for humankind: a test of solidarity and an opportunity to re-think and correct a number of trajectories.
As a community of believers from different faith traditions across the globe, putting aside any theological differences, we submit that many of the crises we face are human-made and have been managed neither with fairness nor in solidarity.
Last year Pope Francis and Imam El-Tayeb:
“Call[ed] upon intellectuals, philosophers, religious figures, artists, media professionals and men and women of culture in every part of the world, to rediscover the values of peace, justice, goodness, beauty, human fraternity and coexistence… as anchors of salvation for all, and to promote them everywhere.”
This time of crisis makes such a call more urgent than ever.
Our core responsibility as faith actors is to translate ethical values into concrete actions. A compelling way to do this is to promote human rights, fraternity and solidarity through the “Faith for Rights” framework.
Beyond religious institutions and faith leaders, such a joint approach to face the current health crisis – and its severe economic and social implications – is also an individual responsibility. The “Faith for Rights” framework and its 18 commitments reach out to individual theistic, non-theistic, atheistic or other believers in all regions of the world to enhance cohesive, peaceful and respectful societies on the basis of a common action-oriented platform.
To fulfil this responsibility of believers, in this broad definition of religion or belief, we encourage faith actors to use the online #Faith4Rights toolkit. Now that we all have more time to reflect, you will find that this toolkit offers concrete ideas for learning, teaching, preaching and design community development projects. It also proposes several cases to debate, including a hypothetical case concerning reactions to an epidemic by religious and political leaders.
Despite our apparent scientific and material progress, it did not take more than a virus to uncover the fragile state of our humanity. Greed, moral deterioration and lack of fairness and solidarity are weakening the spiritual grounds of our sense of responsibility. Far from surrendering to negativism and frustration, we urge all religious actors and individual believers to seize this exceptional opportunity to innovate while assuming their respective responsibilities in making faith stand up for the rights of all.
We count on all our members to mobilise action in what they believe are their priority areas of the commitments on Faith for Rights. It could be divine will that such a miniscule creature finally teaches us that caring for others renders valuable service to ourselves.
Nobody is safe unless all are safe. This is the moral of the unfolding story of the virus.