Friday, July 01, 2005

On Neighbors and the Lack of Escape Pods

Do you long, as I do, for US religious leaders to proclaim this as a priority, and mean it?

From Ananova .....

The Archbishop of Canterbury is urging the leaders of the rich world gathering in Gleneagles for the G8 summit to remember the central message of the Christian faith to "love thy neighbour".

The summit in Scotland is set to focus on the problems of poverty in Africa and global warming, and the meeting is being preceded by a series of demonstrations and the Live 8 rock concerts designed to raise awareness of the issues.

In a sermon at Lambeth Palace, Dr Rowan Williams will say that the global challenges facing the G8 leaders give added urgency and relevance to the Christian call for people to love their neighbours.

And he will say that in the modern world it is more clear than ever that our neighbours include anyone in need, wherever they may be.

Dr Williams' comments follow an open letter to Tony Blair, which he signed with other leaders of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths, calling on the Prime Minister to ensure world poverty is at the top of the agenda at Gleneagles.

He will say: "Pandemics, poverty (and) ecological degradation are everyone's business, and there is no escape pod reserved for those who are comfortable and prosperous just at the moment.

"Suddenly, the question 'Who is my neighbour?' has a very clear answer: my neighbour is the person who lives next door, is the suffering stranger in Africa or South-East Asia or wherever poverty, disease and disaster are found.

"My life is as much bound up with this as with the lives of people who happen to be more like me. And there is nothing abstract or idealistic about the call to love this neighbour: this is the most realistic command that could be given."

Dr Williams will preach his sermon at a special service during a festival in the grounds of Lambeth Palace to celebrate the centenary of the Anglican diocese of Southwark.

On Wednesday, the Archbishop hosted an international forum of church leaders, ecumenical groups, and faith-based charitable organisations at Lambeth Palace, which warned that time was running out for a new and equitable approach to issues of global poverty.

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