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HANDOUT This five-week series will take a closer look at the church’s relation to five key issues, each of which has defined and expressed the very nature of its attitudes toward human rights:

(1) Slavery, not just a nightmare in the past;

(2) War and Violence;

(3) Gender and Sexual Abuse;

(4) Nazis and White Supremists;

(5) Human Rights in the Current Political Climate.

This series continues the season’s emphasis on the Protestant Church by focusing on its historical and current reaction to issues related to Human Rights and Dignity. According to John Witte Jr., in his article, "Law, Religion, and Human Rights: A Historical Protestant Perspective," "Human rights are, in substantial part, the modern political fruits of ancient religious beliefs and practices - ancient Jewish constructions of covenant and mitzvot, ancient Qu'ranic texts on peace and the common good, Roman Catholic canon law concepts of ius and libertas, classic Protestant ideals of freedom and conscience. Religious communities must be open to a new human rights hermeneutic - fresh methods of interpreting their sacred texts and traditions that will allow them both to reclaim the long-obscured roles that their traditions have played in the cultivation of human rights in the past and to lay claim to familiar principles and practices within these traditions that are conducive to the development of human rights in the future" (The Journal of Religious Ethics, Vol. 26, No. 2 (Fall, 1998), pp. 257-262.)

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