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There is a lot of talk today from the Religious Right about "protecting the unborn," but there is not enough talk about protecting the children we already have from abuse. . . . Our children are our future. And our children are our moral responsibility.
[W]e must acknowledge that our religious communities have not fully upheld their obligations to protect our children from violence. Through omission, denial and silence, we have at times tolerated, perpetuated and ignored the reality of violence against children in homes, families, institutions and communities, and not actively confronted the suffering that this violence causes. Even as we have not fully lived up to our responsibilities in this regard, we believe that religious communities must be part of the solution to eradicating violence against children, and we commit ourselves to take leadership in our religious communities and the broader society.
—The Kyoto Declaration: "A multi-religious commitment to confront violence against children," Religions for Peace Eighth World Assembly, Kyoto, Japan, August 2006
Some beliefs are like walled gardens. They encourage exclusiveness and the feeling of being especially privileged. Other beliefs are expansive and lead the way into wider and deeper sympathies. Some beliefs are like shadows, clouding children’s days with fears of unknown calamities. Other beliefs are like sunshine blessing children with the warmth of happiness. Some beliefs are divisive, separating the saved from the unsaved, friends from enemies. Other beliefs are bonds in a world community, where sincere differences beautify the pattern. Some beliefs are like blinders, shutting off the power to choose one’s own direction. Some beliefs are like gateways opening wide vistas for exploration. Some beliefs weaken a person’s selfhood. They blight the growth of resourcefulness. Other beliefs nurture self-confidence and enrich the feeling of personal worth. Some beliefs are rigid, like the body of death, impotent in a changing world. Other beliefs are pliable, like the young sapling, ever growing with the upward thrust of life.
—Sophia Lyon Fahs
Everyone in my church gave me advice about how to raise my son, but a lot of the time they seemed to be reminding me that I have no husband—and besides, most of them were not following their own advice. It made it hard to care what they said. They were not practicing what they preached.
—Victoria, age 24
This groundbreaking work can help bring us to a new religious moment in which the world's faith traditions uphold the sanctity of the child. . . . The time is ripe for a new covenant with humanity's children, one by which we respect their personhood and honour their own hearts and minds.
The Child-Friendly Faith Project: Supporting faith communities in their efforts to protect and nurture children
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