Author mug On Faith

Tracy Hamilton

Spiritual unity paves
path to human rights

In the Baha'i Faith, we believe that human rights are God-given rights. "The best beloved of all things in my sight is justice" is what Baha'ullah, the prophet founder of the Baha'i Faith, states in his book "The Hidden Words."

Baha'ullah teaches that an equal (universal) standard of human rights must be recognized and adopted: "In the estimation of God all men are equal; there is no distinction or preferment for any soul in the dominion of His justice and equity."

Our world consists of diverse political ideologies and ethnic origins, various religious beliefs and different degrees of economic development. Out of this diversity, for the first time, a universal common standard of human rights has been developed to create a bond between men that is essential for maintaining peaceful relations among nations and among individuals.

We celebrate this Wednesday on Human Rights Day, the anniversary of the adoption by the U.N. General Assembly of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, on Dec. 10, 1948. As the Baha'i Committee for the United Nations has said, "In the broadest sense, the problem of protecting and promoting human rights is the main concern of the United Nations."

After 18 years of detailed and laborious negotiations in numerous U.N. bodies, the International Covenants on Human Rights were adopted by the General Assembly Dec. 16, 1966, giving legal form to the declaration. Nations that formally ratify these covenants legally bind themselves to adhere to their provisions.

Former U.N. Secretary- general U Thant said, "The road pointed out by the United Nations -- to a world where each human being will be free from the fear of war, will receive his equitable share of the good which can now be produced, and will be respected in his inherent dignity as a human being -- is the only road which thoughtful persons everywhere can envisage as worthy for mankind to follow."

The path toward true human rights is in the understanding and acceptance of civil and moral law that has come to us, not a product of any one civilization, but gathered through time, beginning from handed-down religious traditions.

The spiritual foundations of all the world's great religions are the same. The prophets God sent to us each gave a set of social as well as spiritual laws. Krishna, Moses, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, the Bab and Baha'ullah gave us both social and spiritual laws according to the needs of the time and the understanding of the peoples. Each taught that man was made in his image by his divine grace.

Recognizing the existence between our soul and the creator is fundamental to human rights. To achieve true human rights, we must overcome age-old misunderstandings and prejudices.

Abdul-Baha, son of Baha'ullah, wrote, "If we investigate the religions to discover the principles underlying their foundation, we will find they all agree, for the fundamental reality of them is one and not multiple."

It has been said that there can be no peace among the nations without peace among the religions. The hope of establishing permanent peace is to understand the basic truth and spiritual unity of all religions.

Baha'ullah prayed: "O my God! Unite the hearts of thy servants, and reveal to them thy great purpose. May they follow thy commandments and abide in thy law."

Baha'is call to other interested groups and public-spirited citizens to align themselves with all the forces working for peace and the rights of man throughout the world.

Tracy Hamilton is a member of the Baha'i Faith on Oahu.

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