Bahai News - RELIGION: CHURCHES WANT TO "HUMANIZE" GLOBALIZATION
RELIGION: CHURCHES WANT TO "HUMANIZE" GLOBALIZATION
Inter Press Service English News Wire STAFF; 04-03-2001
LISBON, Apr. 3 (IPS) -- Concerned by the growing concentration of wealth in
a few hands, representatives of the world's largest religious groups pledged
to use their influence to counteract economic globalization.
Their pledge came yesterday at the close of a two-day international seminar
organized by the Council of Europe's Lisbon-based North-South Center and
co-sponsored by the Portuguese Catholic and Islamic hierarchies and the
Lusiada University in Lisbon.
The seminar gathered representatives from the Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran
and Greek-Orthodox churches, the Baha'i International Community, the
Vatican, followers of Shinto, Ishmaelists, Jews and Buddhists of different
Delegates expressed concern at the pace with which economic globalization
was leaving two-thirds of the world's population in poverty.
They unanimously agreed that spiritual values contained in all religious
doctrines constitute a "universal" patrimony of peace, solidarity and
tolerance, which could exert a healthy influence on the process of
Aye Aye Win, of the North-South Center, recalled Buddhist values acquired
in her childhood in Burma, of which the concept of "meta" -- "love,
compassion towards those you don't like" -- is nowhere to be found in
today's globalization process.
The "scandal of billions of people thrown to poverty is not just a
phenomenon of the South," she said. "It is also visible in the streets of
the world's richest capitals. Where is 'meta' there? There are resources
in the world to eradicate poverty and build a globalization of values:
human rights, equity and social justice."
Exclusion always hits women the hardest, who often suffer the double impact
of their gender and their belonging to an excluded social, racial or ethnic
group, said Elvira Falbo, of the Auxilium Catholic University in Rome.
"White women suffer in a different way from black women, and those of
industrialized countries differently from those of Asia and Africa," she said.
The extreme individualism promoted by the market system has particularly
revolutionized the lives of women, who traditionally were given a greater
role in the private sphere of human beings, such as the family, said Falbo.
"Social and private links -- family, friends, children, religious confession,
partner and political commitment -- in this context are just obstacles: they
demand time, slow down the production process, do not improve
competitiveness," she added.
Speaking of the role religion plays in Japanese life, Yoshimi Umeda, Director
General of the Shinto Foundation, noted that "in Japan people pray for the
health of their companies and the Japanese economy owes its prosperity to
The meeting agreed to establish an informal "contact group" to follow-up the
experience, which will be coordinated by the North-South Center.
©Copyright 2001, Inter Press Service English News Wire
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